WASHINGTON (AP) — Racing toward a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump appeared dug in Friday in a standoff with Democrats over his demand for billions of dollars in U.S.-Mexico border wall money.
The shutdown, scheduled for midnight, would disrupt government operations and leave hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay just days before Christmas.
Trump convened Republican senators for a lengthy meeting at the White House, but it produced no clear path toward passage of a government-funding bill containing billions for wall construction. The Senate began a procedural vote on the legislation but was stuck in a long holding pattern waiting for the return of senators who had already left town.
“This is our only chance that we’ll ever have, in our opinion, because of the world and the way it breaks out, to get great border security,” Trump said Friday at the White House. Democrats will take control of the House in January, and they oppose major funding for wall construction.
Trump tried to pin the blame on Democrats for the possible shutdown, even though just last week he said he would be “proud” to shut part of the government in a fight for the wall, which was a major promise of his presidential campaign.
Congress had been on track to fund the government but lurched when Trump, after a rare lashing from conservative supporters, declared Thursday he would not sign a bill without the wall billions. His supporters on the right warned that his “caving” on repeated wall promises could hurt his 2020 re-election chances, and those of other Republicans as well.
“We’re totally prepared for a very long shutdown,” Trump said Friday. Embracing his changed terminology, he claimed there is tremendous enthusiasm for border security — “the barrier, wall or steel slats — it’s all the same.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell returned to Capitol Hill saying lawmakers “had a good conversation about the way forward. We are going to continue to be talking this afternoon.”
McConnell quickly set in motion a Senate procedural vote on a House Republican package that would give Trump $5.7 billion for the wall, but it was not expected to pass. At least one Republican, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, was opposed, saying he would resist wall money without broader immigration reforms, leaving even the procedural vote in doubt.
Senators were being recalled to Washington after having already approved a bipartisan package earlier this week that would continue existing border security funding, at $1.3 billion, but without new money for Trump’s wall.
Friday’s voting dragged on as senators rushed back to town. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said he returned to the Lone Star state on Thursday only to get back on an early Friday morning flight to Washington.
Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz flew all the way home to Hawaii, tweeting that he spent 17 minutes with his family, before returning on the 11-hour flight.
“Wheels down IAD ready to vote no on this stupid wall,” Schatz tweeted Friday, referring to Dulles International Airport outside Washington.
At the White House, senators engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth with the president, but it did not appear to set a strategy for moving forward.
“I was in an hour meeting on that and there was no conclusion,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
The Senate was expected to reject the House measure because Democratic votes are needed and McConnell showed little interest in changing the rules — as Trump proposed — to allow a simple majority for passage.
One possibility was that the Senate might strip the border wall funds out of the package, pass it and send it back to the House. House lawmakers said they were being told to stay in town for more possible votes.
Only a week ago, Trump insisted during a televised meeting at the White House he would take ownership of a shutdown over his border wall. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” he asserted.
But with the hours dwindling before the midnight deadline, Trump sought to reframe the debate and blame Democrats for the impasse that threatens hundreds of thousands of federal workers on the eve of the end-of-the-year holidays.
“Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything. Later in the morning, not even waiting for a Senate vote, Trump tweeted that “the Democrats now own the shutdown!”
The Democrats now own the shutdown!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
The White House said Trump would not go to Florida on Friday as planned for the Christmas holiday if the government were shutting down.
At issue is funding for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.
Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are funded for the year and would continue to operate as usual. The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, would not be affected because it’s an independent agency.
Thursday night, the GOP-led House voted largely along party lines, 217-185, to attach the border wall money to the Senate’s bill. House Republicans also tacked on nearly $8 billion in disaster aid for coastal hurricanes and California wildfires.
Both the House and Senate packages would extend government funding through Feb. 8, all but guaranteeing another standoff once Democrats take control of the House in the New Year.
“There are a lot of us who want to avoid a shutdown,” said Kansas GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. “I’ve been through about five of them in my career. None of them have worked in terms of their intent.”
Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Kevin Freking and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.
Dan Bongino: The more we find out about Michael Avenatti, the creepier he becomes
One of the best parts about Dan Bongino was noted by Tucker Carlson in the beginning of this video. Bongino is one of the most clear speakers on television with zero “ums, likes, or stutters” as he delivers his vast understanding of the world of politics. He’s easy to listen to, which is important considering how much influence he’s starting to gain in the world of conservative media.
Speaking to Carlson about this crazy week in news, Bongino led off with a very clear truth: porn lawyer Michael Avenatti is as creepy as they get. He’s up there with James Comey on the strangeness scale and he’s beyond Joe Biden on the creepy scale. Nobody comes close on the sleaziness scale.
The funny part, as Bongino points out, is he’s actually been a regularly on most left-leaning shows from lowly podcasts to CNN and MSNBC programs, including… wait for it… Reliable Source. Avenatti is just a punchline now.
Biden to announce next week
Former Vice President Joe Biden is going to announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President next week according to multiple reports. This comes as no surprise to most who have been paying attention as his elevated presence in the media and at speaking events led many to believe he was going to announce soon.
Biden has run for President twice before, bowing out in 1988 and 2008 but eventually landing on the latter ticket with President Barack Obama.
Some thought a report of inappropriate touching that came out last month may thwart his efforts once again, but the controversy has died down and the memes are getting old.
Now, it seems like the announcement is imminent.
Looks like Joe Biden will run. Recent @MULawPoll of Democratic presidential candidates shows Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are top choices among WI Democrats or independents. Sanders at 32% and Biden at 29%. https://t.co/rROIfhm6ob
— Charles Benson (@CharlesBenson4) April 19, 2019
The far-left wing of the Democratic Party doesn’t want to see Biden run. They’ve been able to pull every other major candidate to accept and appreciate socialism to one degree or another and they fear Biden might be too moderate.
This is true in some ways, but don’t be fooled by Biden’s centrist history. He’s not going to allow himself to be painted as a moderate. He will proudly point to his progressive record and tell the people he’s the champion on the far-left they need.
It may be enough to win him the nomination.
“My intention from the beginning was if I were to run would be the last person to announce. We’ll find out whether I can win in a primary.” – Joe Biden
It’s hard to tell which rich old white guy the President would rather face, Biden or Sanders. Personally, I’d like to see Joe win the nomination as his gaffes will make for a fun general election show.
Dear Democrats, bring on the impeachment!
There is no doubting how accurate a previous column by our own EIC, JD Rucker, was. Its very title captured the reactions before the report was public. But perhaps the Mueller Report enhancing the public’s preconceived biases was low hanging fruit. However, I daresay the intensity of the Democrats’ reactions were underestimated, and I further argue that we should escalate their emotions for the sake of political expediency. So please Democrats, go fourth with impeachment proceedings. It would be like their Battle of Crécy.
If you are a Trump-hating leftist or NeverTrump former-Republican, the report will give you days, perhaps weeks of ammunition you can hurl at your Trump-supporting friends and across your social media profiles. Your wildest dreams will be confirmed by whatever mainstream media outlets you love the most, and you will feel both vindicated for thinking the President has always been a lawbreaking bad guy who stole the election and deserves to be impeached before checking into jail.
#ImpeachTrump was all the rage on Twitter, with prominent fresh faces in Congress latching on to the movement of their social media base. The brightest minds of the Left at The Atlantic and The Intercept claim to have a roadmap to impeachment. Rep. Rashida Tlaib has begun the impeachment resolution and their brightest star AOC, has signed on.
Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the President.
It is our job as outlined in Article 1, Sec 2, Clause 5 of the US Constitution.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 18, 2019
Battle of Crécy
The French are famous for executing some of the worst military blunders in history. Among them is their repeated charges during the Battle of Crécy. King Edward III during his campaign across the channel found himself pursued by the French army of King Phillip VI and his auxiliaries. King Edward mounted a defense outside the town of Crécy on high ground. The French first engaged with crossbowmen who were at an inferior position compared to the English longbowmen. The French knights pummeled their own crossbowmen in a show of elitism as they charged to win the battle. But the charge failed. So, they charged again and again and again and again. It is said the French knights charged at least fifteen times, until it became too dark. During the earlier charges the French followed the blind King John of Bohemia.
It’s not enough to be wrong once. They have doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on what was an outlandish conspiracy from the beginning that only had an investigation because people in the FBI abused FISA warrants and the opposition media peddled these lies. No, Trump’s subsequent interview after firing James Comey did not warrant a special counsel. So if the Democrats want to charge yet again, this time believing they have reasonable findings of high crimes or misdemeanors then by all means charge once more. Following AOC is like following King John of Bohemia, if her Green New Deal debacle is any indicator. Meanwhile Don Jr. earned his spurs.
Conservatives are poised to win and each wave of attacks will only create mounting losses. This is a battle Conservatives might as well have. It would not simply be a political victory, it would be demoralizing. If Rachel Maddow cried upon hearing “no collusion,” can’t wait for the leftist tears after this impeachment assault fails. So go ahead Democrats, use King Phillip VI as inspiration for political strategy. Republicans will look like adults, on their high ground outside of Crécy, while the Democrats increasingly become infantile.
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