By Miriam Raftery
December 21, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump says he will shut down the government at midnight unless the Repubilcan-controlled Senate passes a budget with $5 billion in funding for a border wall. Trump claims this would be a “Democrat shutdown.” The House already passed the measure yesterday down party lines.
But dozens of Senators have already left Washington for the holidays and it appears ulikely that enough votes will be mustered for passage.
Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), chair of the Senate’s budget committee, has stated flatly, “No, he won’t have 60 votes over here.”
Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Connell said upon hearing of the President’s refusal to sign a funding bill without money for a border wall, “Ugh, are you ruining my life?” She added, “We can’t have a budget shutdown.”
A budget shutdown could spoil holiday plans for many Americans, withholding pay from many federal workers and temporarily closing everything from national parks to offices processing passports.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) observed, ““It's a shame that the president who is plunging the nation into chaos is throwing another temper tantrum and is going to hurt lots of innocent people. ...It will not get him his wall,” Schumer said.
Democrats have objected to steep cuts under the Trump administration to other programs ranging from education to healthcare to enforcement of anti-pollution laws, while the president seeks massive spending for the wall. According to National Public Radio, in areas that already have a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, illegal immigration dropped less than one percent.
But Republican Senator David Perdue of Georgia disagrees. ““This president for two years has told this Congress that border security is a top priority. ...I totally understand his frustration,” said Perdue. “It’s time to get this done.”
A CBS news poll released today finds that 59 percent of the American people polled say that they oppose building a border wall.