House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke at the National Press Club in D.C. this week, where he promised that an all-out political war over President Trump’s border wall would take place after the midterm elections.
“What the president wants to do is get a bigger down payment so it can be built faster,” said Ryan. “We intend on having a full-fledged discussion about how to complete this mission of securing our border, and we will have a big fight about it.”
President Trump is looking to Congress for $5 billion in the form of a “down payment”; so far, he’s only been able to get a fraction of that from Capitol Hill. Both Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly begged the president to postpone a major, knock-down, drag-out fight over funding until after the elections. Neither man feels that a government shutdown over immigration will improve Republicans’ chances of holding onto their power in Washington. Thus, Trump signed a spending bill that will take us through December 7, at which time the plan is to finally have that “discussion” about the wall.
Ryan’s prediction of a big border wall fight after the midterms were made concrete by Rep. Kevin McCarthy only a day after the House Speaker’s comments at the National Press Club. McCarthy, who has his eyes on Ryan’s soon-to-be-vacant Speakership, introduced the “Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act” on Tuesday, signaling that he will be in the president’s corner when it comes to immigration.
“Few things are more fundamental to a nation than a protected border,” McCarthy tweeted.
McCarthy’s bill actually goes much further than the “down payment” Ryan talked about; he includes in his legislation a full $23.4 billion for the wall, which would likely be the entire amount needed to bring Trump’s signature campaign issue to fruition. McCarthy also included measures meant to limit sanctuary cities, expand the federal government’s ability to deal with gangs like MS-13, and take stronger control over border security.
Of course, the problem with kicking this fight down the road is obvious. Few polls predict anything good in store for Republicans on November 6. If they lose control of the House and/or the Senate, it would be ludicrous to expect that even a single brick will be laid at the border. Republicans will have their hands full over the next two years simply trying to fight off the Democrats’ increasingly-insane attempts to de-criminalize illegal immigration and throw open the borders completely.
As president, Trump has done a great job enforcing our already-existing laws and bringing sanity back to the way we prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. But for a problem of this magnitude, it simply isn’t enough. We need the wall. We need impenetrable border security. But it may be time to look at creative ways to accomplish it that don’t require congressional approval.