The Trump administration’s proposed border wall, ever the source of controversy on Capitol Hill, could force a government shutdown Friday if Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on whether to include funding for it in their spending bill.
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The deadline for Congress to pass a bill to keep the government financed is Friday, and while Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border has been unpopular among Democrats and even some Republicans, the president and his cabinet doubled down Monday on the push for its inclusion in the upcoming funding bill.
The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)! If— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2017
On Monday during a conference call among congressional Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed both parties were working together on a bill until the Trump administration began pushing funding for the border wall.
“Our appropriators were well on a path to resolving their differences until the White House intervened [with the] immoral, unwise and ineffective proposal for a wall,” Pelosi said.
Throughout this week there will likely be some negotiating within Congress to reach an agreement, and if Democrats stand strong in their opposition to financing the border wall, it could be eliminated from this spending measure entirely, Doug Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, told FOX Business.
“The only public point of contention is inclusion of border wall funding. My expectation is that this will drop out, and that they bill will be signed by the president. The worst-case scenario is that they require a one-week extension while they come to this conclusion,” he said.
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Regardless of Democratic opposition, former Republican presidential candidate and Tea Party activist Herman Cain told FOX Business the Trump administration should “absolutely” keep funding for the wall in the spending bill and it is up to Republicans in Congress to stick together to get the measure passed.
“You’ve got some Republicans who have come out against it. And that’s why Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer feel empowered …They know Republicans can get squishy,” he said.
However, if no agreement is reached in time and the government does shut down, Democrats will be the ones taking the blame if history is any indication, Dr. Art Laffer, former economic advisor for President Ronald Reagan, told FOX Business.
“If [the Democrats] all vote unanimously for a shut down and a couple of Republicans go with them, I don’t see how it won’t hurt the Democrats,” he said.
When the government shut down under President Obama in 2013, it was Republicans who received the ill will of the public, Laffer noted.
While President Trump could become the first commander-in-chief to have funds run out during his first 100 days, Cain said that would be less of a reflection on him and more of a make or break moment “for Congress.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seemed to second that notion, saying on Monday that the border wall is an important way to reduce both crime and the flow of drugs throughout the country. He called out Democrats for their refusal to support the administration’s effort to bolster national security.
“It will be the Democrats who shut this government down to block the funding of the wall. That’s what the question is. Are they going to shut the government down?” he asked during an interview with Fox & Friends.
While it is unlikely a Republican-controlled government will let funding run out, if it does the American public might not even notice, Dr. Laffer said.
“The administration has the ability to selectively shut down different things. What Obama did is shut off all of the funds to the most popular programs imaginable—the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument-- they did that deliberately … I would expect the exact reverse to occur with this administration,” he said.