The Senate has scheduled a vote for Thursday on Trump’s proposal to reopen the government, after the 33 day government shutdown. If the proposal fails to receive the 60 votes needed to prevent filibuster, the Senate will then vote on a different short-term spending bill that will reopen the government until February 8th—the House has already passed this bill.
The short-term spending bill requires 60 votes—however Trump has said he would veto it as it does not include funding for a wall. The bill also includes relief for those recovering from natural disasters. Receiving 60 votes would require Senators to cross party lines, however Speaker Nancy Pelosi sees no issue with the spending bill the House has passed, and thus no reason why any Senator would vote on Trump’s proposal. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear he will not bring any bill to the Senate that Trump would not sign.
As a result of Senator McConnell’s opposition to every bill House Democrats offer the Senate, House Democratic leaders have begun drafting a letter to President Trump that would propose $5 billion to border security so long as he reopens the government. However, Democrats are making it clear in the letter that the money cannot be spent on a wall. Thus, Trump is expected to reject this letter.
Trump’s proposal contains the $5.7 billion dollars he would like for the wall and temporary protections for undocumented immigrants. However, these protections do not provide a permanent solution or a path to citizenship. Trump also included an offer that would allow Central American minors to apply for asylum through their home countries rather than at the border. However, Trump’s proposal also eliminates automatic court hearings for these minors which would make deporting them easier.
Senate Republicans will need at least seven Democrats to support Trump’s proposal, however Democratic leaders have made it clear that they will never fund a border wall and do not trust Trump to permanently provide protections for undocumented immigrants. Polls show that a majority of Americans also oppose funding a border wall or increased border security—even if it means the government will reopen.
In what has been the longest government shutdown in history, IRS employees have now been given permission to skip work—which will impact tax refunds, the FDA has stopped inspecting food, major airports have had to close terminals, and national parks have been open without staff which has resulted in trash pile up, trees being cut down, injuries, and even several deaths.
Media Resources: USA Today 1/22/19; NBC News 1/22/19; USA Today 1/23/19; Vox 1/19/19; Politico 1/23/19; Washington Post 1/22/19; USA Today 1/14/19; Washington Post 1/5/19