As Another Government Shutdown Looms, Trump Waivers
By Tanner Chaille
Following the end of the longest-ever government shutdown which came to a close late last month, a new budget deadline is rapidly approaching. In the face of more public backlash, Congress has produced a spending bill with bipartisan support. This would provide a solution to the conflict which was at the heart of the last standstill. Republican Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey were part of an announcement that outlined some, but not all, of the details within the new bill. Among the concessions is limited funding for border fencing totaling 1.7 billion dollars. This allotment would provide for around 55 miles of fencing at the US-Mexico border.
This figure is virtually the same as the previous amount offered by Democrats before the last shutdown. President Trump has remained steadfast in his demands for more than 5 billion dollars to make his trademark border wall campaign promise a reality. Nancy Pelosi and her House Democrats have consistently refused this amount. However, the President is facing newly intense pressure to approve the measures within the bill in order to circumvent yet another government shutdown. Trump’s presidency has been riddled with such freezes, far more than other contemporary administrations.
As a result of this trend, government agencies and their employees have grown increasingly weary of the dissolve between the President and Congress’ relationship. Late in January, TSA employment issues led to the grounding of flights at New York’s LaGuardia airport. This was a key aspect in ending the shutdown with a short-term spending bill. Lawmakers and strategists fear even bigger issues with government contractors and non-essential employees should Homeland Security’s budget be jeopardized once again. The timing of another potential shutdown would coincide with millions of Americans filing their tax returns; the freezing of IRS employees’ paychecks could lead to a halt in returns. This is seen by many within Trump’s own party as a dire misstep, one that would sour Trump’s public approval even further than its current state.
Though Trump himself has expressed his desire to avoid another shutdown, he has also voiced suspicion over the contents of the new spending bill. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday before a meeting with the Colombian President, he stated, “We haven’t gotten it (the legislation) yet. We’ll be getting it. We’ll be looking for land mines”. Though the political effects involved with yet another standstill in government operations are daunting, this would certainly not be the first time in which the President has briskly struck down measures he claimed to support. Congress has come together in order to ensure the continued operations of vital government agencies. Only time will tell if President Trump has gotten that memo as well.