Trump is serious about that wall. In fact, if funding can not be found for it, the GOP is saying it could cause a government shutdown. (Relax, public school kiddies, that means a lot less than than you think).
On Monday, Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, announced that the Republicans plan to block any spending bill that does not include funding for the Mexico-Border wall.
The funding for the government lasts until September, and if Trump does not sign a budget bill by October 1, there will not be money to run the government, therefore triggering a government shutdown. The Republicans believe that the President will veto any bill that does not include wall funding, therefore, they will not accept it.
“My conversations with the president have led me to believe that there is nothing less than a full and total commitment on his part to only sign into law a funding bill that actually allows for us to start construction of a border wall on our southern border,” Meadows told Breitbart.
While the wall has been met with fierce resistance among liberals and even moderate Republicans, Meadows believes it should be the top priority in the Republican agenda for two reasons,
“One is it is a commitment that the president made to the American people and one that he intends on keeping, but the second part of that is for our national security we must secure our borders. And the American people will accept no less,” he said.
The current budget passed in May with no funding for the wall, and was supposed to be heralded as a victory for Democrats. But, that was mainly out of concession by the Republicans who passed it because they were running out of time. The compromise was on the premise that the next budget in October would be have more time to find the funding. Although, the bill did include $1.5 billion to DHS for border security. While an incredible increase by most standards, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated $22 billion price tag on the wall.
Other lawmakers advocating a shutdown include Alabama Representative Mo Brooks. Brooks is attempting to change legislative chambers by running for Jeff Sessions’ opened Senate seat. He recently ran a campaign ad stating he would fight any bill that does not include border funding, if he is elected to the Senate. He has stated that he would filibuster any other spending package by reading the King James Bible from the Senate floor. (This is not an exaggeration, historical filibusters have included reading the phone book aloud).
“We’re going to build that wall, or you’ll know the name of every Republican who surrenders to the Democrats to break my filibuster. I give you my word, and I don’t give my word lightly,” Brooks said.
Meadows endorsed Brooks’ campaign, and said Brooks is not one to make empty promises.
“If he says he’s going to filibuster until it gets done,” Meadows said. “Everybody better bring their pillows because they’re going to have be staying there for a long time.”
Budget talks on the new bill are supposed to begin later in the summer. Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, calls for, “a new foundation that solidifies our commitment to the border’s security.”
It currently includes the first $1.6 billion to pay for the first 32 miles of wall, 28 miles of levee, and 14 miles near San Diego. It also allocates $300 million to staff and train 500 new border patrol agents and 1,000 new agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It also gives an additional $1.5 billion for detestation and deportation of illegal immigrants. However the budget, even by Republican lawmakers, is considered dead on arrival and new budget talks should reveal a much tamer spending package.
The original campaign promise was that Mexico would pay for the wall, and the insulted country has vehemently stated they will do no such thing. Now, Trump’s rhetoric on Mexico has calmed down, with him saying that they will “eventually,” pay for it, “in some form.”
Some wall designs have come up with creative ways to make Mexico pay for it, including making the wall generate solar electricity and then selling that electricity to Mexico utility companies. It would certainly be a less offensive way to make them pay for it, but also designs and prototypes have been halted until further funding can be procured.