Pelosi Refuses to Negotiate Wall While Another Shutdown is Weeks Away
Hundreds of thousands of government workers look forward to receiving backpay during a three-week reopening of the government following the longest shutdown in our nation’s history.
President Donald Trump stated publicly that both Democrats and Republicans are mostly ready to reopen the government permanently, leaving people across the country rallying behind the possibility of Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reaching an agreement before the shutdown continues.
President Trump’s speeches about the temporary reopening of the government make it seem like a victory. But Pelosi’s statements about his border wall are stubborn as ever, and many Republicans are bashing the president for caving in. Ironically, while many Republicans have recently attacked the president for reopening the government, top members of the party pressured him to reopen due to blame for the shutdown being placed on him in many polls.
Attempting to save face, President Trump has been focusing on the workers affected by the shutdown and the benefits of reopening. But his efforts didn’t stop #TrumpCaved from becoming the top trend on Twitter.
Discussing the budget after reopening reflects what Democrats have been saying since the shutdown began. Trade agreements designed to squeeze money for the wall out of Mexico have yet to be ratified. Polling suggests that public support for the wall has declined since the 2016 election. With Democrats offering money for border security but not the wall, President Trump’s promises may lose him the next election.
The government shutdown will resume on February 15 if an agreement cannot be made. What will happen after this point is unclear, but acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney stated on MSNBC that he believes the president is ready to keep the government shutdown. An extension on the shutdown would be unpopular for President Trump, but with the promises and rhetoric surrounding his plan for the United States/Mexico border, he seems willing to do anything to get funding.
President Trump has been hinting for weeks that if the Democrats were to stonewall him with no sign of progress, he could declare a national emergency, allowing him more than 100 special powers, including using military funding to build a defense structure. Polling indicates declaring a national emergency would be unpopular, but the law allows the president to declare a national emergency at his own discretion.
Democrats have vowed to fight President Trump in the courts if he takes this route to get the wall started. Republicans are split in their support, with many worrying a bad precedent could be set by the president bending the law in his favor.
I believe President Trump will use the National Emergencies Act to start construction, and afterward the government will either have to be reopened or blame will shift to the Democrats. Considering the illegal immigration and drug trafficking that the border facilitates, President Trump has statistics to support this power grab. If his wall proves effective, the unpopularity of how it was constructed may not cost President Trump the 2020 election as some Republicans fear.
Pelosi has refused to discuss funding for the wall and rejected the president’s offers, often before even hearing them. Pelosi offers a fraction of the almost $6 billion for border security, not including a wall, and her refusal to allow it into the budget is estimated to have cost the government billions due to the shutdown.
President Trump’s wall was a part of his political platform. From his perspective, his hands have been tied on the issue since he was elected. Pelosi should have caved on the issue at the beginning, given President Trump’s rhetoric about the border and always insisting on a wall. Pelosi knowingly let the government hemorrhage money- our money, in a bid to erode the president’s support.