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Thomas Gallatin / December 20, 2018

Congress Avoids Shutdown and Funds Border Security … in Mexico

Trump backs off his shutdown threat over the border wall and Congress passes a spending deal.

There’s no two ways about it — Democrats won the latest showdown with President Donald Trump on funding the border wall. Trump backed off his funding demands as Congress came to an agreement on a spending deal that averts a government shutdown. Once again, Trump has been thwarted on immigration policy. And fulfilling his signature campaign promise won’t get any easier with the House coming under the control of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) and her Democrat #Resistance army.

While the ultimate blame for failure to fund the border wall falls on Congress — specifically Republicans, who failed to use their majority to pass legislation — the lion’s share of this political defeat falls on the president.

The reason: Trump failed to follow through on his threat to play hardball last week when he boldly proclaimed to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and incoming House Speaker Pelosi, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So, I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down.” Well, it now appears that Trump had second thoughts on taking up the shutdown “mantle.” It was an empty threat at that, which should be a lesson to him.

And to add insult to injury, the spending deal includes $10.6 billion in funds given to Mexico to help pay for its own border security. What happened to building a wall that Mexico would pay for? That said, as bad as the political optics of this look for Trump, it’s actually not a bad deal in terms of stemming the tide of illegal immigration at its source.

Finally, even from a minority position Democrats have been exceedingly effective in blocking Trump on a campaign issue that they themselves were in favor of a mere decade ago. At this point it’s hard to see Trump ever getting this wall.


Update: Trump has reconsidered and will not back off his demand for wall funding. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently addressed the issue stating, “We just had a very long productive meeting with the president. The president informed us that he will not sign the bill that came up from the senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security.”

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