Kellyanne Conway: Trump Open to Govt. Shutdown to Secure Border Funding
After the second year of minuscule funding for Trump’s border wall, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said that a government shut down could be coming soon. The government has been shut down over pure politics before (in fact, that seems to be the only reason it’s ever shut down), and with a Democrat-controlled House that will obstruct Trump at every turn, Conway confirmed Trump is more than willing to shut down the government to fulfill the promise on which he built his campaign.
According to the Daily Mail, Trump has not said what he will do when Congress sends him its next spending bill, while indicating multiple times over the past few months that he’ll veto the legislation unless he gets $5 billion for the wall.
Fox News host Steve Doocy told Conway it’s unlikely Trump will secure the border funding he wants – to which Conway replied that Trump is “keeping all options open.” She then encouraged Congress to take action, stating that “they have failed to meet the president’s modest demand.”
Perhaps I’m cynical, but I think Congress’ inability to fund the border is by design, not any failure on their part.
If the government is shut down over the border, it’s been a long time coming. Trump said in August of last year that he’d be willing to close down the government if it meant securing the funding he needed.
How much funding Trump really need for the border wall?
A wide array of studies have been commissioned on what it would cost to construct a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, and all come out to a range of between $15-$25 billion. For reference, the federal government spends over $10 billion per day. Trump has been slowly garnering that funding by the year.
In the 2018 budget (as the 2017 Federal budget was set by Obama) Trump secured $1.6 billion in funding for the wall, and plans to spend an additional $1.6 billion next year, but Trump would like to up that figure. Even if he could secure $1.6 billion a year for the rest of his presidency, it would only amount to $12.8 billion (assuming two terms). And remember: that was with a Republican majority. If we can only fund a few miles of the border at a time under Republican leadership, what will it look like with Democrats obstructing every part of Trump’s agenda?
Fiscal objections to the border are nonsense, given the immense cost of illegal immigration to the American economy. Mexico would indeed “pay for” the wall, in that the costs of illegal immigration greatly exceed the cost of a border wall. Alternatively, Congress could take an idea from Ted Cruz and put the $14 billion in assets the U.S. government seized from drug kingpin El Chapo and put it towards the border.
Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming. Most importantly, got $700 Billion to rebuild our Military, $716 Billion next year…most ever. Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Creative budgeting could thwart Democrats (and RINOs)
At this point, Trump’s best bet to secure border funding is simply to divert existing spending towards it. The easiest way to do this would be to declare constructing a border an issue of national security, which would allow Trump to siphon off part of the military’s budget to build the wall, without having to get any new funding approved.
And if all else fails, a shut down really is in order. Trump’s border wall isn’t nearly two years overdue – it’s centuries overdue.