Congress Punts Wall Funding, Passes Stopgap Funding Measure
By Heather Ham-Warren | December 7, 2018
Earlier this year, Congress failed to pass several spending bills by the September 30 deadline, including: Interior and Environment, Financial Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Commerce, Justice and Science, State and Foreign Operations, and Homeland Security. To avoid a partial government shutdown, these bills were attached to a “minibus” of two other spending bills in the form of a continuing resolution through December 7, which Congress passed and the president signed shortly after.
Although the new deadline was this week, all legislative business in Washington came to a halt following the death of former President George H.W. Bush. Instead, on Thursday, Congress passed a bill extending their deadline and funding the federal government for another two weeks.
Throughout the year, President Trump has repeatedly requested at least $5 billion in wall funding before the end of this session— even threatening to veto spending packages withholding the funds. In response, Senate Democrats have vocalized an unwillingness to give the president anything more than $1.6 billion. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, is expected to meet with President Trump next week to begin negotiations; but she has already stated her desire for a yearlong stopgap bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. If the White House does grant this request, there will be no wall funding this year. Additionally, with Democrats taking control of the House in January, a yearlong stopgap measure could mean wall funding will be out of the President’s reach until sometime after the 2020 elections. Nonetheless, in present day, if neither party is willing to yield, a partial government shutdown is possible.
Still, if history is any indication, a deadline pushed late into December will likely pressure lawmakers to accept whatever language leadership offers simply to get home in time for Christmas. Additionally, the vote will likely take place at a time when the American people are distracted by the holidays and thus less likely to complain or even notice.
At this point, lawmakers may be hoping voters will redirect their desire for a border wall. Yet, following the midterm elections American voters only reiterated their support of these statements. According to exit polling conducted by FAIR, 80 percent of Republican voters and 53 percent of swing voters support President Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall along America’s southern border.
Please stay tuned to FAIR as we monitor this spending fight.