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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Monday, March 13, 2017
Democrats VOW Government SHUTDOWN Over Trump Border Wall
Senate Democrats said Monday that they will block any spending bill that includes money for President Trump’s border wall, even if it leads to a government shutdown, saying it’s up to Republicans to resist touchy issues in the looming spending debate.
In a letter led by Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, top Democrats also said they will insist that bills allow Planned Parenthood to collect taxpayer money.
But though Democrats are in the minority and would have to filibuster to block the bills, they insisted it’s Republicans who will be blamed for a government shutdown.
“If Republicans insist on inserting poison pill riders such as defunding Planned Parenthood, building a border wall, or starting a deportation force, they will be shutting down the government and delivering a severe blow to our economy,” the Democrats said in a letter to top Republicans.
The government is currently funded through April 28 under a bill that continues 2016 levels. But unless more money is approved, basic non-essential government operations will have to cease after April 28.
This year, for the first time in a decade, Democrats do not control any part of the appropriations process. But they are counting on the GOP’s shutdown showdown fights of the last few years to scare Republicans into being timid about which fights they choose to pick.
The spending bills give Congress a major opportunity to reformat policies, since they are considered must-pass bills. Lawmakers regularly include “legislative riders” in spending bills constraining what the executive branch can do.
But Democrats said veterans, environmental policies, labor union issues and consumer protection policies must all be off-limits this year if any bills are going to pass.
While Republicans can pass whatever they like through the House based on their own numbers, the Senate Democratic Caucus has 48 members — more than enough to sustain a filibuster, should Mr. Schumer choose that route.
Mr. Trump’s border wall is emerging as a major flashpoint in the debate.
Democrats said “such a border wall will not work,” and doubted Mr. Trump has a plan to actually build one in the first place.
“For example, the Administration has not detailed how to 1) use eminent domain and other procedures to acquire land from private landowners and Native American tribes, 2) design the wall, 3) locate the wall, 4) construct the wall, and 5) require Mexico to pay for the wall given the President’s clear and repeated promises that he would force Mexico to do so,” the senators said in their letter.