Trump Willing to Trade National Security for His Useless Wall
Two days ago, at a rally in Phoenix, Trump was trying to woo his dwindling base. He announced that he was willing to shut down our government in order to get funding for his ‘great wall’.
This is not a new idea for Trump. On May 2, Trump tweeted “either elect more Republicans in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!” There is no evidence that any government shutdown has proven to be beneficial for anyone. In fact, the Ted Cruz shutdown in 2013 cost our economy $24 billion in lost economic output. Around 850,000 government employees, which included civilian contractors, did not get paid. This accounted for about 40% of the federal civilian workforce. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/25/trump-is-threatening-a-government-shutdown-heres-what-that-looks-like/?utm_term=.1ecb6150244a
According to the Forbes article by Stan Collender, there is a 60% chance of a government shutdown. The reason for this is that the Republicans now have 7 different warring factions:
- The House Freedom Caucus, extreme conservatives (Tea Party), wants the opposite of a clean bill and has enough votes to stop the more moderate Tuesday Group.
- The Tuesday Group, https://ballotpedia.org/Tuesday_Group, does not support the policies of the Freedom Caucus and could also have enough votes to stop the Caucus and the whole House of Representatives from getting anything done.
- The republicans in senate also have two warring factions, the ultra conservatives and the more moderate group. The conservatives use any means to achieve their goals. An example of this is Ted Cruz’s 2013 government shutdown in a failed attempt to block the ACA. He knew that he would fail but used a government shutdown as a means of getting his name known around the country.
- The more moderate republicans include John McCain, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska all of whom voted down the GOP ‘skinny healthcare bill’.
- Ryan could ask the democrats to support a moderate bill, but they would most likely want a quid pro quo which would anger the conservatives in his party. This might also push the Freedom Caucus to try and unseat Ryan as they did with Boehner.
- McConnell and Ryan have to lead their fractious party and often have to use their ‘political capital’ to protect themselves.
- Finally of course is the president himself. He is not a true republican and his base is different from republican congresspersons who have to run for office in 2018. Trump is demanding that funding for his ‘great wall’ be included in the Continuing Resolution budget bill. There is also the debt ceiling battle coming soon and Trump truly has no idea how that works, and doesn’t care. After all, he was perfectly fine with bankrupting his companies. Why not the government?
All this means that the only CR that can be passed by both houses is one without funding for the wall. This could conceivably push Trump to issue his first veto. It is doubtful that Congress could override that veto, which means that the government would shut down. If Congress can come up with a clean short term CR it would give the GOP groups more time to work out a deal. But, Trump insists on money for his wall so he could veto for that reason. A veto will give him a chance for a “good shutdown” plus more deconstructing of our country and more destabilization around the world. Of course we all know who benefits by a U.S. government shutdown. Putin of course. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stancollender/2017/08/27/yes-trump-could-really-set-off-shutdown-and-debt-ceiling-bombs/#417684745b2b
There has never been a time when our government was controlled by one party that was so splintered, this close to the debate in congress over a Continuing Resolution and a Debt Ceiling bill. Add Trump to the mix and there is a strong chance of our president closing down the government just so he can have funding for his wall. Imagine how much of the social safety net could be saved if we were not putting a billion dollars into a useless wall that few people want.
Keep writing, calling and emailing your congress persons. Do the same for the white house. I’m sure that Herr Trump won’t like all that opposition.