Saturday, April 22, 2017
Would Trump Shut Down Government Over Border Wall ?
There is only a week until the government runs out of money. If that happens, the government will be shut down until Congress and the president can agree on a continuing resolution to fund government operations.
The good news is that there seems to be progress in Congress on a continuing resolution. That resolution would include slightly more money for the military, some money for border security (electronic surveillance, not a wall), and no huge cuts in domestic programs. Such an agreement would be a win for both parties in Congress.
The Republicans could brag they got more money for the military, increased border security, and avoided a shut down. The Democrats could claim support for the military, a blocking of the border wall, and avoiding a shut down. It would allow the government to keep functioning, and prevent the open revolt of either party's base voters. And it's probably the best option that can be achieved right now.
But there's a fly in the ointment -- Donald Trump. Trump has had a dismal first 100 days in office, and he's itching for some kind of win. He's demanding that the continuing resolution contain billions of dollars for the border wall -- something that would be very unlikely to pass the Senate.
The question now is just how serious is Trump about using this continuing resolution to fund his silly border wall. If a fairly clean continuing resolution (as described above) passes Congress, would he veto it? Is he willing to shut down the government to get his wall funded right now? Could he take the heat that would come with such a veto?
As the chart above shows, right now the public would blame Congress if the government is shut down (38% blaming congressional Republicans and 32% blaming congressional Democrats), while only 15% would blame Trump. But if the Congress passes a fairly clean continuing resolution and it is vetoed by Trump, that would change dramatically. Trump would instantly get the blame for the government shut down, and the onus would be taken off members of both parties in Congress.
And that would be especially true if the primary factor was a failure to fund the border wall. As the second chart above shows, the public is solidly against building the border wall, and they are not going to be happy about shutting down the government to build it.
If Congress is smart (which I admit is a questionable assumption), then they will call Trump's bluff and pass a clean resolution. I don't think he's got the guts to veto it and take the full blame for a government shut down. And if he does, he'll quickly back down once he realizes he is shouldering all of the blame for that shut down.
NOTE -- The charts above are made from information in a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between April 12th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,062 voters, with a 3 point margin of error.