Senate Republicans have come up with a spending bill for Homeland Security that includes President Trump’s request for $1.6 billion in Wall funding, a dramatic move that is certain to cause friction across the aisle. While Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders have been downplaying the chances of a government shutdown, the bill’s inclusion of wall funding will almost certainly bring the possibility into the forefront. Democrats know that the Wall is Trump’s signature promise to the American people, and they fear the political ramifications of voting for anything that would give their active consent to the construction.
According to the bill’s author, Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas, the border wall funds will be part of the giant spending bill the Senate is due to pass in early December. Boozman told reporters that bill would also resolve the decision over what to do about the 800,000 or so Dreamers whose amnesty Trump’s removed last month.
“That will be part of the negotiations,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, the president is going in insist that the border funding be there.”
$1.6 billion won’t even come close to funding construction of a wall that covers the entire Mexican border, but Boozman said it was a start. In the language of the spending bill, it directs the money to be used at those points along the border where the majority of human trafficking is now taking place. A debate will be held on the Senate floor later on to determine how and whether to fund the full construction of Trump’s promised barrier.
Even a small portion of wall funding, however, could prove to be a sticking point when it comes to Democrats. Republicans have had the power to push through legislation without their help (although they didn’t), but they won’t be able to do that with the new spending bill. They’ll have the filibuster on their side, allowing them to essentially shut down the government if Republicans can’t get the bill passed by December 8. Of course, the media will portray this as the GOP shutting down the government, and that means Republicans will have to stiffen their backbones if they want to get this funding through to the president’s desk.