Well, at the moment there is a partial shutdown of the US government due to the failure to pass a continuing resolution (CR) for the budget prior to midnight last night. Apparently, as I listen to C-SPAN yesterday and this morning, the problem is that the President will not sign a continuing resolution for the budget unless it included five billion in funds towards building a board wall between Mexico and the United States plus the Senate has not passed any legislation yet.
The CR bill did pass the House of Representatives, but has not passed the Senate so there is nothing for the President to sign yet. While it was originally thought that if a continuing resolution was not passed prior to midnight yesterday that nothing could be done until after New Years Day since members of Congress were expected to leave Washington due to the Christmas holiday.
I am surprised to see and hear that the Senate appears to still be in session right now. Efforts appear to be being made to pass some kind of bill and end the partial shutdown of the government this weekend.
At the moment it is 4:20pm so if any continuing resolution does get passed before Christmas Day I will not only be surprised but somewhat amazed since it had been originally thought that it would be impossible to get any bill passed once the day ended on December 21.
It will be interesting to see what the next several hours bring and if any bill is passed, what exactly is in it.
One thought does occur to me is the possibility that the administration is really only using the boarder wall as a ‘wedge issue’ or ‘negotiating chip’ to get other things from Congress. I find it hard to believe that with all of the money spent by the government, that the administration really could not get five billion or even fifty billion dollars if it really wanted to for a boarder wall with Mexico. It seems to me for the relatively small amount of money involved, that something else must be going on or some other kinds of deals are being made, with the boarder wall being used as something that the administration ‘rolls out’ when it wants to get other things done. In this line of thinking, the administration says it wants a boarder wall with Mexico, but then at the end gives that up to get something else legislated that it really wants. The problem is that without reading all of the legislation passed, or someone confessing to what was negotiated, it is hard to tell what those other items were that the administration got passed.Good Luck and Take Care,
Louis J. Desy Jr.
Saturday, December 22, 2018 4:26pm
Update: Apparently, Congress adjourned for the day with no action being taken. While there will be a shortened session on Monday, Dec 24, Christmas Eve, it is not expected any legislation will be taken up so the shutdown is in effect until at least Thursday, December 27 when Congress will reconvene.
I also took a look at the total cost for a border wall with Mexico. From what I can see and alluded to by internal reports that some reporters have been allowed to view, the best estimates are that a border wall with Mexico would cost about 22 billion and take three years to build. Some people indicate the correct amount is really about three times that or as much as 70 billion dollars, but even that higher amount spread out over three years would be less than 25 billion per year. I think the fact that the amount is such a small amount overall of government spending on a per year basis lends more credibility to the possibility that the administration uses funding for a border wall with Mexico as a negotiating chip to get other legislative items instead of making a real effort to build a border wall with Mexico. Fact-checking Kamala Harris’ claim about cost of Trump’s border wall: https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2017/aug/29/fact-checking-kamala-harris-claim-about-cost-trump/