Very Quietly, Democrats Cave on Funding Border Wall in New Spending Bill
Congress reached a "deal in principle" to fund the government through next year, a deal that includes at least some funding for the president's proposed border wall. This after Democrats solemnly swore they would not vote for "one dime" of wall funding.
There were some indications that Democrats gave ground on the wall, moving from the zero-funding position they took in their original version of the bill.
Following a Wednesday meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Lowey acknowledged that they may lose some votes on the left.
“Not everyone can vote for the bills, and we just need enough votes to pass, and I’d like to get the majority of Democrats, at least. And I hope we get some Republicans to support the bills, because it’s always good to have bipartisan support,” she said.
It's not likely that too many Democrats will advertise the fact that their leaders completely caved to Trump and that they betrayed their far-left supporters. Otherwise, the government will shut down and no one wants to see who gets blamed by the voters for it.
Trump still had to do a little horse-trading to get his wall funding.
The White House signaled in negotiations it would accept significantly less money -- the current level of $1.375 billion -- than requested on the border wall in exchange for maintaining the authority to transfer funds from Pentagon accounts to finance new wall construction, according to people involved in the talks. That agreement made it into the final deal, a source familiar with the talks said. The deal does not include any money backfilling the $3.6 billion in military construction funds the administration transferred earlier this year to fund the wall -- a key priority for Democrats.
The spending bill, as usual, makes a mockery of good government and sound government fiscal policy.
The bipartisan foursome of the top appropriators reached the agreement after meeting in the Capitol on Thursday, capping a day of harried negotiations, proposals and counter proposals that will significantly curtail the threat of a government shutdown. Staff will work through the weekend to produce the final legislation, which will likely move in two separate packages that receive House floor votes on Tuesday, according to an aide.
The $1.37 trillion agreement includes all 12 spending bills and came after a day of last-minute negotiations and shuttle diplomacy between Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, and his House counterpart Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, along with the two ranking members on their committees, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat of Vermont, and Rep. Kay Granger, a Texas Republican. At various points meetings included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the Trump administration's point person on the negotiations.
It also came as time was running out to reach an agreement that could be moved through both the House and Senate before the December 20 funding deadline. President Donald Trump will also have to sign the measure into law and has yet to weigh in publicly, but Mnuchin and Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, were regularly apprised, and often present, during some of the final stages of the negotiations.
Some day, Congress will get its act together and get serious about getting control of spending. It will happen just about the time pigs start flying and unicorns are grazing in Central Park.