The Shutdown is About to Get Real

Before today, it has been easy to argue over the partial federal government shutdown in emotional terms, and in visible images of certain closed facilities like the Smithsonian. But today, all that changes. Today is what should have been the first payday of 2019 for federal workers, and they are not getting a paycheck.
Rent and mortgage payments are due. Heating bills, electric bills, car payments, and tuition bills are due. Credit card bills to pay for Christmas gifts are due. And no money is coming in for hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
It’s easy for those of us who agree that America needs better border security to poo-pooh emotional reports of workers selling their stuff on Facebook and Craigslist to pay bills as media bias. But it’s not. Washington Post reporter Taylor Telford detailed some of the stories in a Friday morning story.
“Sells for $93.88 at Walmart. Asking $10,” a government worker wrote on a Craigslist ad for a Lulu Ladybug rocking chair. “We need money to pay bills.”
These problems are real, and they are pressing. The three rich spoiled brats involved in a joint tantrum over 0.14% of the federal budget don’t care about a few thousand dollars per paycheck. Trump doesn’t even keep his paycheck (a gross check, which paid bi-monthly is well over $16,000, which the rank-and-file outside of Washington would find impossibly extravagant). Pelosi and Schumer are both rich and have been financially secure for so long that they can’t remember the last time they had to worry about paying a bill–if they ever did.
Guidance from government offices have provided little comfort so far, some workers said. No one in Washington seems to know how long the partial government shutdown will go on, but there’s been little reason to believe the end is close. Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget has provided sparse advice other than encouraging workers to reach out to creditors and mortgage companies before debts become due. The Coast Guard published a tip sheet this week suggesting employees hold garage sales or sell things online, walk dogs or babysit or “become a mystery shopper” to get by.
“Bankruptcy is a last option,” the tip sheet read.
To hell with arguing about the morality of a wall. For a political fight between spoiled brats to cause other, innocent parties, to be forced into thinking about bankruptcy is immoral and unconscionable.
As much as I want a wall, I believe the reality of the shutdown, should it continue, will quickly overcome this political fight. Pelosi and Schumer have surely told Democrats to hold out, let their constituents’ suffering build up, and they’ll win. I believe Trump will dig in further, or resort to the lunacy of some kind of invented “emergency power” to get what he wants.
It’s easy for political pundits to see everything through the lens of policy or a personal love/hate for President Trump. It’s easy for Jim Acosta to fly (business or first-class, undoubtedly, or coach, in the back of Air Force One) to McAllen, Texas to demonstrate how safe the (walled) border it. Acosta is getting a paycheck.
Congress is getting a paycheck (don’t believe them when they express “solidarity” and preen about not taking their pay). Ask Democrat star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if she’ll give up her paycheck.
“I’ve gotta run!” Ocasio-Cortez told The Post when asked the question Thursday on Capitol Hill.
She then scampered down a crowded hallway to get in line for her mock swearing-in with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
There’s literally no pain for legislators and government officials who still get paid, to deprive those who have done nothing to deserve it from missing their bills, defaulting on mortgages, getting late fees and debt collector calls.
The only pain these legislators will feel is the angry phone calls. But they’re too cynical to care except to use that legitimate anger as a political weapon. Because our government is being run by a bunch of spoiled three year olds fighting over a toy. My 9- and 8-year-old boys would have solved this problem and built the wall weeks ago, because in comparison to the toddlers in stinky pull-ups we have in Washington, they are mature.
It’s about to get very real for those being used as pawns in a very stupid fight. Democrats have a reasonable offer on the table, for a near-insignificant amount of money. They want the shutdown to hurt. In fact, they’re counting on it. Trump is no better. He plays for an audience consisting of his supporters and Fox & Friends watchers (the same group).
Shame on them all.

Building the Wall Will Require Presidential Extortion

Multiple news outlets are reporting President Trump agreed to exclude demands to build the southern border wall from a deal on DACA legislation. (Wash Examiner)

The White House hailed a “constructive working dinner” Wednesday night between President Trump and top Democratic congressional leaders, who claimed afterward they agreed to exclude the border wall from a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement. “The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

While this is the Democrat’s spin from dinner last night, the White House quickly denied it: (Wash Examiner)

“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders shot back shortly afterward.

Whether the President includes a border wall funding demand in the upcoming DACA vote is uncertain, but if he doesn’t,  you can depend on conservatives screaming to high heaven, and never-Trumpers crowing “I told you so…”.  Yet, perhaps they should be focused on GOP leadership and the Chamber of Commerce.

The MSM and Democrats would have you believe the GOP wants to build a border wall, and only they stand in opposition. This is not true and they know it, however; it is great for fundraising. The plain and simple fact of the matter is the current congressional GOP leadership is virulently against a border wall and will not support passage of border wall funding legislation.  (Wash Times)

Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly said during a private dinner earlier this year that nobody but nobody in Congress wanted a border wall — well, nobody except “one member,” Breitbart reported, citing a one-on-one with the former congressman, Tom Tancredo. “Ryan told a group of Republicans he met with … that only one person wants a wall,” Tancredo  said, “You have to understand the level of fear that exists in the Republican establishment about this issue.”

GOP opposition to border wall funding is predicated upon fear of the media, fear their big business donors, and fear of not being re-elected (Breitbart)

“The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want a wall … the pressure is greater from the Chamber of Commerce than it is from the members,” Tancredo, who for years in the House fought a mostly fruitless battle to get Congress to combat the flood of illegal immigration, added. “That’s the basic problem. It was then. It is now.”

As the Washington Times reports, the GOP has obstructed any funding legislation (Wash Times)

Republicans, through action — or more to truth, inaction — and most recently, through Ryan, have shown an utter reluctance to get the process going. It’s not only their business backers they fear. It’s public relations and media coverage. There’s been a growing trend from the left to set fires, break glass and toss rocks at police and citizens alike whenever a conservative idea seems to gather steam on Capitol Hill. It’s not just the Chamber that lurks; it’s antifa and its thuggish cohorts. Combine that with a media heck-bent on taking down this White House, and the final result, in the minds of campaigning Republicans, is this: Bad press leading to reelection loss.

It doesn’t seem to make sense to double down on border wall funding when your own party stands in opposition. This fact isn’t hidden from the Democrats, all they have to do is sit back and wait for the President to cave, and then make political hay over it. When all along, GOP leadership knew it was a non-starter.

That being the case, there is only one way the President and his bonder control conservative supporters will ever see the southern border wall built. It will be messy, require considerable spine, and take around 90 days. But it will work, threatening corporate cash flow and profits always works.

The President should instruct Attorney General Sessions to issue a new directive, announcing ICE will shift its focus from the southern border temporarily, instead concentrating on interior control for the next 90 day.  The focus would be conducting a crackdown on corporations that hire illegal aliens.

He should announce ICE will start at the southern border from California to Texas and sweep north. No company would be excluded. General Sessions should be very explicit in explaining ICE will hit agriculture, poultry farms, construction firms, road-building companies, etc; with the intent of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants, slapping fines, penalties and obtaining as many indictments as possible.

The White House should braced itself for the howls of protest. Initially the Democrats and MSM will be the loudest, followed by liberal open-borders devotees. But once the enforcement takes effect, they can expect the Chamber of Commerce and GOP establishment leadership is be fiercely and defiantly opposed.

However, if the White House has the will to see it through, it wouldn’t be long before those companies begin to see profits fall as well as announcements of not hitting their quarterly projection. This will surely trigger Wall Street. Nothing like falling stock to motivate those guys.

It is a stone cold lock those CEOs would begin storming the gates of the White House in their limos in such numbers, it would take a team of valets to sort them out.

Mr Trump should then sit them down and explain the facts of life. Interior enforcement until the wall is funded, it is their responsibility to convince Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. You can bet when Wall Street and big business money dries up, those four will cave so quick it would make your head spin.

The sad thing is interior border enforcement should be an given and be an on-going ICE effort. However in the case of funding of the southern border wall, it is just about the only chip on the table that has the power to bring all the players to the table.

It is a twofer win for Trump supporters, They get to see the wall built and watch Congress squirm. Win Win

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Why A Government Shutdown Is A Bad Idea

 

 

There are some issues that conservatives of good conscience can disagree on and remain well within core conservative principles. One of these is the issue of shutting down the government. As President Trump and congressional Republicans consider shutting down the government over funding for the “big, beautiful wall,” they should avoid falling into what is Democrat trap.

The core problem for Republicans is a lack of votes. Although Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress, the margins are slim and they lack the 60 votes required to end a Democrat filibuster. As a legislative strategy, a government shutdown does nothing to resolve this problem.

The only way for Republicans to pass a bill funding the wall – or anything else for that matter – is to make Democrats and moderate Republicans change their votes. The way to do that is to sweeten the pot. To give Democrats something they want in exchange for something that Republicans want.

A shutdown would do the opposite. It would be a combative policy that would further alienate Democrats and give them no incentive at all to vote for the Republican bill. In fact, a government shutdown would play directly into the hands of Democrats who want nothing more than for the Trump Administration to fail.

Further, if Republicans are determined to pick a fight, the border wall is the wrong issue.  Polling indicates that about two-thirds of Americans oppose Trump’s wall. Numerous studies, including one by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), have indicated that a Trump-style wall would be a boondoggle that is hugely expensive yet ineffective. This is especially true in Texas where the Rio Grande forms the border with Mexico and much of the land on the border is privately owned by ranchers who need access to the river’s water.

Add to that the fact that voters don’t like shutdowns. When Republicans shut down the government over Obamacare in 2013, the party’s approval quickly tanked. In fact, Gallup found that Republican approval sank to its lowest point ever. If Obamacare’s failures had not turned the tables on the Democrats, Republicans would have likely suffered a wipeout in the 2014 midterms. Through it all, Obamacare remained intact.

The 2013 shutdown occurred with a Democrat president in office and the GOP still took the brunt of the blame. There is little question who would be blamed if Republicans, who now control the White House as well as both houses of Congress, shut the government down over the wall.

As a strategy, a government shutdown offers very little for conservatives to like. It would be an unpopular strategy used to enact an unpopular policy, but that isn’t the worst part.

The worst part is that it won’t work. A government shutdown would inevitably lead to yet another embarrassing defeat for the GOP and President Trump. There is simply no way for the party to win without Democrat votes for cloture.

Democrats would use a shutdown to tell the country that President Trump and the Republicans are incapable of governing. It would be difficult to prove them wrong.

Will Democrats Shut Down the Government?

Another year, another looming government shutdown.

This year it is Democrats who are threatening to shut down the government to block funding for President Trump’s border wall. Fresh from their victory in blocking reform of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats say that they will filibuster the annual appropriations bill if it includes money for construction of the wall. The bill must pass before April 28 to avoid a shutdown.

“I thought we were going to get a check from Mexico,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in Politico. He added that the wall will “accomplish nothing. That’s $30 billion that can’t go into cancer research, diabetes research and veterans care.”

In recent memory, it has been Republicans who have threatened to shut the government down. The most recent example in 2013 followed several shutdowns during the Clinton Administration. While Democrats have been guilty of fomenting shutdowns, we must look all the way back to 1990 for the last example of a Democratic Congress shutting down the government under a Republican president.

While government shutdowns are not uncommon, they also are not popular with voters. Virtually every poll that asks about a government shutdown shows the voting public overwhelmingly opposed to and angry at the prospect. While shutdowns can be popular among the partisan base, most voters want the parties to work together for the good of the country.

When the Republicans shut down the government for 16 days in 2013, they not only failed to achieve their goal of defunding Obamacare, they also saw the party’s approval rating fall to a historic low. A year later, Obamacare’s skyrocketing increases in health insurance premiums and chronic problems with registration on exchange websites saved Republicans from an electoral drubbing. They weren’t so lucky in 1996 when Republican-led shutdowns arguably cost Bob Dole the presidency and ushered in a second term for Bill Clinton.

If Democrats haven’t learned from past shutdowns, Republican leaders apparently have. “We’re not going to have a government shutdown,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said on CBS last month. “The president doesn’t want to have a government shutdown.”

Ryan suggested that the battle over appropriations for the wall could be delayed until next year since plans for the wall have not been finalized. “The big chunk of money for the wall, really, is…next fiscal year’s appropriations because they literally can’t start construction even this quickly,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed, saying on Fox News that he was “very confident” that a shutdown could be avoided and argued that the Democrats had the most to lose from a potential shutdown. “I would advise President Trump: ‘Don’t worry about them sticking that label on you. Congress owns the government shutdown brand,’” McConnell said. “There’s no incentive, frankly, for either side to go to the brink.”

Republicans say they intend to keep controversial items out of the appropriations bill. Funding for the wall will be delayed and a measure defunding Planned Parenthood is likely to be inserted into the budget reconciliation, which cannot be filibustered. This may mean that Democrats are left with no hot button issues to demonize in the appropriations bill.

Nevertheless, Democrats in the past have shown a propensity for overreach. Overconfidence after the health care battle and an irrational emotional response to the mere existence of the Trump Administration could lead Democrats into a shutdown battle over nothing.

With President Trump’s approval rating at 35 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll, Democrats would run the risk of blowback from a shutdown. The strategy might make the president more popular at their own expense. A maxim attributed to Napoleon is, “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.” Democrats would be smart to follow the French emperor’s advice.

White House: There Will Be No Funds for Border Wall in the Immediate Future

In what will likely be a shock to some supporters, the Trump White House is pretty much waving off any need for the previously requested “seed money” to begin building a southern border wall.

Senate Republicans have said they felt that including a $1.5 billion request in with the pending government funding bill would cause complications, as the goal is to fund the government past April, and sandwiching that request between other items could cause a partisan split.

In a Wednesday press briefing, White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer responded to the question about funding and the wall:

“That is our request,” press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday when asked if the wall funding is a deal breaker for a must-pass spending bill.

“We will continue to work with Congress on the rest of the FY ’17 budget,” he said.

Trump requested $1.5 billion from lawmakers this year to begin work on the wall he wants to build along the southern border, a central pillar of his campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration.

President Trump has proposed several ways to pay for the wall, most of which consists of the Mexican government taking on the costs (which they refuse to do).

Having the American taxpayers foot the bill, then getting the Mexican government to pay for it, retroactively, is just the latest mutation of the wall plan.

For now, however, those plans will wait, as lawmakers set about getting a budget passed that takes care of what they see as more immediate necessities of keeping the lights in Washington on.

GOP Playing Jenga With the Wall

Not content with breaking just one campaign promise with its transmogrification of Obamacare into Swampcare, GOP establishmentarians are now signaling that the border wall with Mexico–one of Donald Trump’s signature issues–might be getting some resistance:

As the issues mount, several prominent Republicans are making their concerns more explicit.

 

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told constituents during a telephone town hall Wednesday that “billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed” to secure the border. “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”

 

Although Gardner framed his position in the language of a fiscal conservative, his concerns are also those of a lawmaker who will face reelection in 2020 in a state where Hispanics already account for 21 percent of the population.

Because as we know, all Hispanics don’t want immigration law to be enforced, right?

Left unmentioned by Gardner is what he thinks the right way to secure the border might be.  Perhaps a few non-theatening signs posted at the more popular coyote crossings, painted a friendly shade of lavender with hearts and flowers and Hello Kitty saying, “No Trespassing Pretty Please”?  Of course, this being the federal government, they’d still find a way to make even that cost north of a million bucks.

Not wanting to be left out of the action, Mitch McConnell also weighed in on the Republican’s next cop-out:

Despite Trump’s insistence that Mexico will pay for the wall, Mexican officials have routinely rejected that assertion — and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn’t help but laugh at it.

 

“Do you believe that Mexico will pay for it?” POLITICO Playbook’s Jake Sherman asked the Kentucky Republican on Thursday morning. “Uh, no,” he shot back, chuckling.

Way to go, Mitch.  It’s not like we were looking to use our leverage with Mexico or anything.  With props like that, I’m surprised Barack Obama didn’t have him negotiate the Iran Deal.

The Politico article goes on to say that since illegal border crossings are way down, some Congressional Republicans, whose natural position is to cringe anyway, don’t see the urgency in building a wall at this point in time.  What they surely understand–but are not saying because they assume their voters are dense–is that the only reason border crossings have plummeted is because illegal immigrants believe President Trump’s talk about getting tough on enforcement.  Not building the wall would telegraph that the United States isn’t serious after all, which would cause the illegals to come pouring in again.  But that’s rather the point for the open borders types, isn’t it?

The truth is we have a lot of huge advantage in our position with Mexico, in that around $24 billion worth of remittances get sent back there every year–the vast majority of it from the United States.  That represents more money than the country takes in from oil sales, and just a bit less than it takes in from tourism.  Simply put, Mexico depends on that free flow of cash, and there are a number of ways to use that to incentivize them to help finance construction of the wall.  A fee of 5% on every remittance could also be levied, which could potentially yield $1.2 billion a year.  No doubt people would try to find a way around it (as they always do), but at least it’s a place to start.

Because we need that wall.  Just as we need a military to keep the nation secure, we need control over our borders.  Whether we can build it has never been a question.  Whether we will–well, that just depends on us.  Voters sent a clear message last November when they sent Donald Trump to the White House.  We just need to keep the pressure on Congress to make sure they get it as well.

BREAKING: Mexican President Nieto Calls Trump’s Bluff, Cancels Meeting

Oh, Mexico! This is what happens when dealmaking President Donald Trump trades shots with foreign leaders who hold a better hand than him. They call him on it and claim the pot.

Trump insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall, then he authorized it with American taxpayer money. Speaker Ryan obliged that American taxpayers will pay. Then Mexican President Pena Nieto publicly condemned the wall, and reiterated his country will not pay for it.

“I regret and reject the decision of the U.S. to build the wall,” Nieto said in a nationally televised address. “I have said it over and over again. Mexico will not pay for any wall,”

That led Trump to threaten to cancel his meeting with Nieto.

Bet, raise, call. Pot to Nieto.