Dems Threaten Shutdown Over Wall

The wall may lead to a major stall.  A new Politico report says Democrats are threatening a government shutdown to block funding for President Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico.  The President has requested $1.6 billion in funding for the wall in the fiscal year budget set to begin in October.  That funding--called a "down payment" by the White House--would pay for roughly 62 miles of border wall, mostly in Texas.  But Democrats in the Senate are prepared to block any spending bill that includes funding for the wall.

Longtime Texas political observer Harvey Kronberg, publisher of the Quorum Report, believes the Democrats are likely bluffing.  "There might be some chest beating, but with the Trump White House calling for a clean bill, and his popularity among Republican primary voters at this stage...I think all the dynamics favor that they'll be coming to a resolution," says Kronberg.

The White House is hoping to avoid a shutdown as well, already dispatching legislative aides to Capitol Hill to negotiate a deal on allowing funding for the wall.  The deal would reportedly involve lifting caps on domestic spending in exchange for Democrats signing off on wall funding.  But so far, neither side is blinking, with the White House insisting the wall funding must be approved and Democrats saying it's a non-starter.

Kronberg notes that both sides are walking a political tightrope.  While Trump and GOP leaders desperately need some legislative wins and to follow through on their campaign promises, Democrats have a lot to lose if they force a shutdown.  "Democrats are perceived as the party of government, and their constituencies would be damaged too if the social security checks and Medicaid funding and Medicare, and all of that went away for two or three or five weeks, whatever it may be," says Kronberg.  "So, it's brinksmanship with no winner."

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