Congress seems to have no solution for a potential government shutdown after deliberations ended with a stalemate on Friday. As a result, the president is warning about a “very long” government shutdown if lawmakers don’t fund his border wall. Congress is working within a very tight deadline though. If a spending bill is not passed by Friday midnight then some parts of the government will have to shut down.
As of Friday morning, there was no clear indication that lawmakers were any close to an agreement.
The point of contention still remains funding for the wall that was part of Trump’s campaign promises. On Thursday night, House Republicans passed a bill that would have kept the government running until February 8th. The bill would have also put $5 billion towards the president’s wall.
The legislation had to pass in the Senate but this now looks very unlikely. Recent reports indicate that the Senate will vote to reject the bill on Friday. The GOP-controlled Senate already passed a temporary measure to keep the government working without money for the wall but the White House wants more.
In order for the Senate to pass any spending bill, 60 votes are needed. Although Republicans hold the majority, they are still way short of this mark. This means Democratic votes will be needed for any headway and it seems they are holding out. The Democratic Party has made it clear over and over again that it will not approve any funding for the wall. A meeting between the president and GOP leaders in Congress at the White House also failed to yield any concrete steps. After the meeting, Trump declared the chances of a shutdown are “very good.”
Majority leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell was one of the key senators to embrace the House spending bill although he had also backed another legislation that didn’t have an option for the border wall funding. Leader of the Minority in the Senate Chuck Schumer also weighed in on the matter insisting on the position held by the Democrats that the wall will not be funded. Schumer made it clear that Trump will not get the wall despite the threat of a shutdown and things will get even harder for him when Democrats take control of the House early next year.
The deadlock means that the US will have to deal with a third shutdown in a year. In addition to this, any temporary spending bill to keep the government from shutting down will only hold for a few weeks.
Trump has made it clear that he’s ready for a shutdown if he doesn’t get the money for the wall. The president met Democratic leaders in the Senate and in the House a few weeks ago to negotiate a bipartisan spending bill but the meeting ended in disarray. Trump maintained at the time that he will shut down the government to get the border wall if he has to.
The president appears to believe that the wall is desperately needed to curb illegal immigration, but there are many lawmakers, including Republicans, who have called it inhumane.