By ROBERT ROMANO
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has declared that he is “100 percent confident” that the votes are there in the House to approve $5 billion for the southern border wall.
The comments, on Fox News, came after incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) challenged Republicans at an Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump, where she said, “You have the House of Representatives. You have the votes. You should pass it right now.”
Not for nothing, but Pelosi has a point.
If House Republicans are 100 percent sure they have the votes to pass $5 billion for wall funding then they need to vote. What have they been waiting for?
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised $12 billion to $15 billion in Jan. 2017 and so far all they got done was the $1.6 billion supplemental for the wall President Trump requested in Feb. 2017. And that didn’t get passed until March 2018.
So it’s not as if Republican haven’t had multiple opportunities to pass wall funding while they had majorities in both the House and the Senate.
Always it came down to an unwillingness to fight a Senate Democrat filibuster and potentially move to a partial government shutdown over wall funding, for fear it might cost Republicans their majority in the House — which they ended up losing anyway in Nov. 2018.
This is where President Trump has a point. At the Oval Office meeting he said, “the problem is the Senate, because we need 10 Democrats to vote, and they won’t vote.”
That is true, but by postponing a fight on the issue, thus far there haven’t been any votes on fully funding the wall.
Now with the migrant caravan charging the border, suddenly, many members of Congress see the need for the wall.
Just look at Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa, who is now leading the caravan. He has lived in Mexico since 1987, where he fled after being suspected of a terrorist bombing in Honduras that wounded six American soldiers — he claims he was being persecutedfor his “left-wing” views.
That Mexico harbored a suspected terrorist is bad enough but now Ulloa has delivered a letter to the U.S. consulate demanding entry of the migrants or else a $50,000 per migrant payoff. It’s a shakedown.
“It may seem like a lot of money to you,” Ulloa told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “But it is a small sum compared to everything the United States has stolen from Honduras.”
Can you believe this? This is who Congress is defending by refusing to build the wall and secure the border right now, radicals like Ulloa who hate the United States and yet think they are owed entry here.
Has Congress taken leave of its senses?
Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning said Congress should move immediately on the wall funding, “The House should be moving to a vote immediately, attach the measure to the omnibus bill and then vote the same day the Senate is to vote.”
To bolster their chances of prevailing, House Republicans might also consider guaranteeing they will vote with 146 members to sustain a presidential veto of any spending bill that does not have wall funding in 2019 should this drag on for a few weeks.
Pelosi has already stated she won’t be moving any funding for the wall when she is Speaker, saying to reporters of Trump, “Does he want to have government closed forever?”
Which, that’s actually a good question. Finally, one idea to bring additional leverage to the table are the non-essential federal employees. In Oct. 2013, more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed according to the Office of Management and Budget. Usually, Congress votes to award them backpay for not working after the fact. But what if they didn’t get backpay this time around?
All options should be on the table. This is a fight that Congress needs to fight now — and win.
The fact is the American people are never going to have a stronger advocate than President Trump on this issue, who has threatened to shut down the government if Congress does not fund the wall. The time for Congress to act is now. It’s time to vote.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com.
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