This month saw the end to the longest government shutdown in history. Starting December 22, 2018, the government had run out of funds amidst arguments over funding a border wall that was a key promise in President Trump’s campaign.
Both houses of Congress have passed the short-term spending bill to re-open the government, temporarily ending the 35-day partial government shutdown on Friday, sending the measure to President Trump’s desk for him to sign into law. This measure came as a move to separate the controversial issue of border security from the funding of the government. From the White House Rose Garden Friday, the president announced that the administration and Congressional Republicans and Democrats had “reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government.” Trump said the deal would keep the government open for three weeks until Feb. 15.
What’s Happening Next…..
Now that the government employees are back at work and getting paid, it is time to set up negotiations surrounding border security and funds for the border wall. President Trump arrived at an agreement with Democrats to support a measure to re-open the government, and negotiate a plan for border security separately. The deal does not include funding for a wall or barrier along the border, but Trump said he was confident negotiations would continue to come to an agreement on wall funding. The Democrats have agreed to come to the table in good faith to start the process. They only have three short weeks to arrive at an agreement.
And If There Is No Funding…
If the Democrats and President Trump cannot resolve the matter of funding for border security and the wall then drastic step may be taken. Trump has made reference to his previous threat to declare a national emergency. This “very powerful weapon” would give him the power to secure the border as he sees fit. If no deal is reached to fund border security and construction of a wall before Feb. 15, the next date the government’s funding would run out, he would use his presidential powers to declare an emergency.
“Walls should not be controversial,” he said. “As commander-in-chief, my highest priority is the defense of our great country.”
That leaves the ball in the Democrats court to fulfill the promise they made to be willing to negotiate in good faith on full-year government funding that would include a significant investment in urgently needed border security measures, including physical barriers. What will happen next is anyone’s guess but the government will continue to run whether a deal is reached or a state of emergency is declared. Either way, members of the military currently serving and our veterans will have the resources that they need.