Opinion: With government shutdown looming, Trump should make border wall concessions
President Donald Trump’s promised border wall continues to be a problem for the Republicans. On Friday, Trump signed a budget extension that will avert a government shutdown through Dec. 21. But he is threatening to let a government shutdown happen if Democrats do not allot $5 billion for his border wall.
Democrats do not seem likely to cave on the issue. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who will undoubtedly be confirmed as House Speaker in January, dubbed the border as “immoral,” “ineffective” and “expensive” on Dec. 6 at a press conference. Pelosi also rightfully said that President Trump promised Mexico would pay for the wall.
Democrats have offered the president $1.6 billion for general border security. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-Ny., clarified his position on the spending bill Dec. 6:
“Let me be clear: the $1.6 billion cannot be used to construct any part of President Trump’s 30-foot-tall concrete border wall. It can only be used for fencing, using technology currently deployed at the border, and only where the experts say fencing is appropriate and makes sense as a security feature. This is something Democrats have always been for — smart, effective, appropriate border security.”
Schumer also mentioned that Republican appropriators have already signed off on the bill he approves.
The border wall may have been a winning issue for President Trump during the 2016 campaign, but in passing a spending bill, it is a losing one. This would especially be true if the government shuts down, which the president said he would be okay with.
For conservatives, who generally advocate for reduced government spending, asking taxpayers to foot a $5 billion border wall seems contrary to their political beliefs. Border security is indeed important, but a wall may not be the best solution. Even Pelosi has agreed to come to the table and acknowledge that border security is important.
“We have a responsibility, all of us, to secure our borders – north, south, and coming in by plane… and that’s a responsibility we honor, but we do so by honoring our values as well,” Pelosi said.
President Trump should use the momentum from the Democrats in his favor rather than lose all of it with a government shutdown that will surely be blamed on him.