Update: Two hours after this story went live, the President Tweeted a demand for the wall. He’s done so before, but it’s good to see him do it again.
Republicans and Democrats MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall. After 40 years of talk, it is finally time for action. Fix the Border, for once and for all, NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2018
It’s been nearly two years since the border wall with Mexico was supposed to be getting built. There wasn’t a solid time frame set for its construction, but the urgency put forth by the Trump campaign throughout the 2016 election had many Republican voters assuming it would be the top priority. It hasn’t been. In fact, it seems to be doused in rhetoric.
Most Trump supporters would argue that Congress is the roadblock to the wall, but this is a disingenuous argument. Congress worked on the President’s cues when they still had control of both chambers on Capitol Hill. He’s signed every spending bill that didn’t have the wall funding in it. All he had to do was demand the wall’s funding be included. Build the wall or he’ll shut down the government – that should have been the message.
He forced Congress to pass tax cuts, a proposition that required much more effort to put together. Since they were passed, he’s taken every opportunity to say they were his tax cuts that were a direct result of his leadership.
If the President takes credit for tax cuts and a booming economy, he must also take the blame for no border wall and increases in illegal immigration.
So, where’s the wall?
The good news for those of us who want the wall is that he’s signaled he won’t sign the next spending bill unless $5 billion is allocated for DHS, more than triple what the department needs today. Around three and a half billion dollars of that money would be put towards starting the wall.
Despite his demands, I’ll believe it when I see it. I sincerely hope I do.
Of all the major promises made before the election, two of the biggest have gone nowhere: the wall and Obamacare repeal. He got the first round of tax cuts. He’s cut into the bureaucracy, a promise kept that pleasantly surprised me. He unfortunately kept his promise to rethink our free trade model and push “fair trade” using tariffs to somehow stimulate the economy. So far, they’ve been a bust.
Had you asked me before the 2016 election which promise would certainly be kept in the first two years of his presidency, I would have said the wall would definitely get started. As I mentioned before, he has all the power to demand funding from Congress. He also has the power to shift focus in military spending; a border wall is widely seen as an immigration issue but in reality it’s just as easily classified as a national defense initiative. There are plenty of military budgets to pull from that could get the wall started.
I’m not a proponent for spending parts of the military budget on the wall, but it’s a valid backup plan if he couldn’t force increased DHS funding. Pulling these precious funds wouldn’t be ideal, but it would be better than our current situation of still waiting for construction to officially begin.
I’m also not suggesting Congress hasn’t played a major role in not getting the wall funded. That’s their job. But the President has the power to force funding for the wall. He might not get to directly allocate spending, but he can withhold his signature. Congress might control the budget but they still need the President’s approval.
The rhetoric and finger pointing works to keep the vast majority of his supporters from asking questions about the wall, but in the real world we should have begun wholehearted construction of the wall over a year ago.
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JD Rucker – EIC