There Will Be No Deal To End Shutdown
There will be no deal to end the government shutdown and there are a whole host of reasons why that is the case. The primary reason, of course, and the one that drives all others, is that there is no one, Republican or Democrat, who has any faith that Donald Trump will abide by any agreement that might be made. That alone, makes the idea of compromise a fool’s errand.
Trump’s cave to the Fox, Ingraham, and Coulter caucus caused the government shutdown and has now left Mitch McConnell and every incumbent Republican Senator in the indefensible position of refusing to vote for the exact same continuing resolution they passed with unanimity just over two weeks ago. Already, some vulnerable 2020 GOP Senators are defecting and demanding that at least the votes be taken. And Democrats are adding to their pain by threatening to refuse to move forward on any legislation until those votes are taken. McConnell has largely disappeared from any negotiations not only because he’s already been burned by Trump once but also because Trump and the GOP are desperate to turn this into an argument between Trump and Pelosi.
The reality is that is an argument between Trump and the GOP Senators that is increasingly turning into an argument between Trump and himself. In the wake of the shutdown, Mulvaney came forward with a reduced offer of around $2.5 billion for the wall which Pelosi quickly shot down. Now the administration has gone in the opposite direction, wanting a total of $6.5 billion for the wall and additional border assistance, an amount greater than the original $5 billion request. The administration not only hasn’t spent the money that was already allocated but also can’t document how this new money would be spent. Trump has gone from a concrete wall to “slats” to steel in the course of just two weeks. And now he has reverted to his autocratic tendencies, threatening to declare a national emergency and have the military build the wall with money allocated for other purposes.
Trump is negotiating with himself at this point. Democrats will not give him anything for the absurdity of the wall. Trump has turned down DACA for the wall numerous times already and there is no reason for Democrats to offer that now. Trump said he would own the shutdown and everyone knows it is on him. His base demanded it and his opponents believe it. House Republicans are now irrelevant and Senate Republicans just want the shutdown to end before the collateral damage to them becomes too great. It appears that enough Republicans do not have the gumption to pass the bills to re-open the government and then override the President’s veto. They will stick with him to the bitter end.
There will be no negotiated end to this shutdown because everyone knows, Republicans included, that Trump can not be trusted to hold up his end of a deal. This will only end one way, with a total capitulation by Trump. That may mean he will take the autocratic option of declaring a national emergency and ordering the wall be built, allowing him to sign the bills to fund the government. Those orders, however, will be successfully challenged in court and the wall will continue to exist only in Trump’s imagination. Considering this option gives him a way to save face with his base and allows him to rant some more against the courts, it will be probably be the path Trump takes.