December 28, 2018
Last Friday, the House surprised us all. House Republicans passed a budget with $5 billion in border wall funding. The House Freedom Caucus stood up for all Americans by calling for Congress to keep their promise to fund the wall, and encouraged the President to hold true to his veto threat. This resulted in a 217-185 vote, mostly along party lines.
After the bill reached the Senate, Republicans struggled just bring the bill to a vote. During the cloture vote, which is the vehicle that ends debate and allows the bill to be voted on, the voting period had to be left open for hours in order for Republicans to get enough votes to tie 47-47.
Vice President Pence broke the tie in the Republicans’ favor. That is as far as the bill advanced before the government partially shut down. The Senate reconvened the next day, but decided to adjourn until December 27th. Republican Leadership could have issued a threat to work through the Christmas holiday, but they gave up all leverage by going home early.
This is the last chance to for Republicans to pass President Trump’s agenda on border security. Democrats’ recent voting record is telling of legislation to come. They have voted against necessary border security such as Kate’s Law, increased vetting on refugees, deportation of violent criminal aliens, removing gang members, and funding for the border wall. They have instead voted to expand the catch and release program and to keep sanctuary cities. Not to mention, they refused to back a resolution in support of ICE agents who work every day to protect our nation’s families. If this budget is not passed before the new year, Democrats will have the opportunity to craft their own spending bill. This could be very dangerous for our country.
With a 60-vote threshold in the Senate to pass a budget and Leadership’s failure to act, border wall funding does not look promising. The President has pressured Leader Mitch McConnell (R- KY) to use the “nuclear option” which would require a rule change to allow a simple majority of 51 Senators to pass the budget, but Leader McConnell insists that the Senate does not even have those numbers.
There is no indication of how long this shutdown will last. In the meantime, Eagle Forum continues to echo the President’s call for border wall funding. Congress must make the safety of American families their first priority.