Americans are staring down at the possibility of another government shutdown. The White House has failed to agree with Democratic lawmakers on border wall funding. Analysts note that president Trump will have to make a tough and fateful choice on the wall if the shutdown is to be averted. There was some hope last week that a bipartisan agreement to prevent the shutdown would be achieved between GOP and Democratic lawmakers. The deal would have provided funding for stronger border security including a partial amount to build the wall. There was also hope that the president was on board but over the weekend, talks came to a grinding halt.
The disagreement stemmed from a demand from Democrats to limit the number of detention centers used by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement along the border. This appeared to halt the progress that had been made. If everything had worked, the deal would have been presented to the White House on Monday but this didn’t happen. There’s still plenty of time though before the Friday deadline to work out an agreement. Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who was one of the high ranking Republicans in the 17-member negotiating team, confirmed during an appearance on Fox News that talks had stalled. He remained optimistic though that this short term barrier will be overcome before the Friday deadline.
If no deal is reached by then, over 800,000 federal workers will face another shutdown barely three weeks after the government was reopened. The recent shutdown was the longest in US history. The president was largely blamed for it and many analysts saw it as a major political defeat for the White House a few days after Democrats took control of the House. Trump is expected to reiterate his call for a border wall in his visit to El Paso, TX on Monday. There’s a real fear that his rhetoric during this trip will make the impasse between GOP and Democratic lawmakers even worse.
Even if the impasse is addressed before the Friday deadline, it’s very unlikely that the White House will get the $5.7 billion it’s demanding for the wall. Although Democratic lawmakers are ready to provide some wall money as part of border security spending, the amount will be a very small percentage of what the president is demanding. Whether Trump signs the bill as is or not is a different story. But a lot of his supporters would view the signing as a political defeat which is something that president Trump wants to avoid.
The choice for Trump is, however, not that easy. On one hand, his support base has demanded the wall and many actually feel is part of the reason why he was elected for office in 2016. On the other hand, a significant percentage of Americans feel that the president was to blame for the recent shutdown. At the moment, Trump can reject a spending bill without the wall and appease his base or risk losing support from moderates around the country. Either way, it’s a political loss because Democrats have made it clear that they won’t offer the $5.7 billion.