Speed Reads


Republicans might not fund Trump's wall if it means avoiding a government shutdown

With the Trump administration still smarting from the failure of the GOP health-care bill, Republicans are now considering yanking money from the border wall in order to avoid a government shutdown at the end of April. "The Trump administration can't have another disaster on its hands," a senior House Republican official told Politico. "I think right now they have to show some level of competence and that they can govern."

The White House requested $1.4 billion for the border wall as part of a defense spending package; the total price of the wall is ultimately expected to be more than $20 billion. But Republicans are concerned about how they might look if they force a government shutdown on the heels of the health-care defeat.

If Congress truly were to refuse to fund the border wall, it would be its own unique defeat for the administration as the infrastructure was a central promise of President Trump's campaign. But for the budget to pass, the House cannot lose more than 22 Republican votes, assuming Democrats vote along party lines. And even then, at least eight Senate Democrats would be needed to break a filibuster.

Already, many moderate Republicans are voicing concerns about the wall. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called it "probably not a smart investment." Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has also hinted at putting the wall off until the future, perhaps late 2019. And as the House Freedom Caucus proved with health care, they are ever a wild card.

But as one senior Republican pointed out to Politico: "This is [Trump's] signature issue. I cannot imagine a scenario where the Trump administration loses on the border wall funding. If I were them, I'd dare the Democrats to shut down the government over this."