The wall, the drug lord and the looming shutdown
The wall, the drug lord and the looming shutdown
Once again, we find ourselves staring at the possibility of a government shutdown. This time, there is a faint glimmer of hope it can be avoided. Let’s face it, the hope is faint because of the people involved. The politicians have proven themselves too concerned with pushing their own agendas to worry about something as important as border security. Add to that their desire to do all they can to keep President Trump from claiming victory on just about anything and you have a recipe for disaster.
After months of threats and counter-threats, not to mention emotional blackmail, a “bipartisan agreement” has been reached. At least one Republican leader is urging President Trump to sign the deal and avoid another shutdown.
Despite threats to the contrary from the Democrats, there is money for the border wall included in the deal. It isn’t the $5.7 billion the President wanted. Instead, the agreement includes $1.375 billion. In other words, 55 miles of steel walls instead of 234 miles. The President isn’t thrilled with the deal but he hasn’t said he will veto it.
Take a moment and consider those figures and then think about the propaganda you’ve heard coming from the liberal side of the aisle. For months, we’ve listened to Pelosi and company condemning President Trump and his desire to build a wall. They’ve very carefully crafted a narrative that made it sound as if this wall would run the entire length of the border with Mexico. They made comparisons with the Berlin Wall and many of us remembered the barbed wire fences running between the Soviet Bloc countries and Western Europe before the fall of the Soviet Union. Hell, there was even more than one reference to Nazi Germany.
Yet all the President was asking for was funding for 234 miles of steel walls. Hmm. A quick check shows the US-Mexico border is approximately 1,950 miles long. Holy hell, Batman, all this wrangling, all the political blackmail and all the economic hardship on our government employees and it boils down to the fact the Dems couldn’t see fit to secure less than a quarter of our border. I’m no huge fan of Trump, but that’s ridiculous.
And the danger of a shutdown isn’t over.
But there are solutions. One possible solution would pay for the wall in full without ever touching another taxpayer dollar. Another would force both sides of the aisle to quit playing games and get serious about doing their jobs as our representatives. Perhaps it is time both should happen, especially if this tentative agreement falls apart.
Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as drug kingpin El Chapo, was found guilty of multiple charges after a three-month long trial. Sarah Sanders pointed to El Chapo as a prime example why we need stronger border security.
El Chapo’s reign of terror is over. He‘ll spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison. The threat from violent drug cartels is real – we must secure our border https://t.co/1iyRKAi91i
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) February 13, 2019
Senator Ted Cruz has suggested passing what he called the “El Chapo Act” to pay for the border wall.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) February 12, 2019
The bill, introduced by Cruz, January 3rd, would “take any money forfeited to the U.S. by Guzmán and other drug lords as a result of criminal prosecutions and direct those funds toward ‘border security assets’ and the completion of a border wall.”
Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way to secure our southern border, and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals,” he wrote in a statement at the time. “By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and other murderous drug lords, we can offset the cost of securing our border and make meaningful progress toward delivering on the promises made to the American people.”
Yet we have heard nothing, absolutely nothing, from the Dems about this possibility. Why? Because they are claiming a false moral high ground by opposing the wall itself. Remember, they want us to believe the wall will run the entire length of the border, turning us into a pale imitation of the Soviet Bloc after World War II. Of course, they then want us to forget that comparison when they start pushing their socialist agenda but that’s another post for another day.
Let’s face it, the deal is still only a hope and glimmer in the nation’s eye. Until President Trump signs off on it, anything can happen. While we hope for the best, we need to be prepared for the worst. So what can the President do if the Democrats either withdraw their support for the deal or if he decides to veto the bill his veto isn’t overridden? Conversely, what can he do to get the rest of the money he wants for border security if the El Chapo Act isn’t passed?
Let’s start by saying he should not–I repeat NOT–shut down the government. Nor should he declare a national state of emergency. There is another option, the “threat of sequester“.
In 10 months’ time, if Congress fails to act, then an automatic sequester will kick in that would reduce federal spending in 2020 to levels that Congress and President Barack Obama set in the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress agreed to lift those spending caps for two years in 2018, increasing both defense and nondefense discretionary spending above sequester levels by $165 billion and $131 billion, respectively. But that deal runs out at the end of the year. If Congress does not lift the caps by December, then automatic $55 billion across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary spending will take place, while defense spending will be cut by $71 billion.
Think of all the pet projects the Democrats would suddenly find without funding should that happen. While I absolutely hate the possibility of cutting defense spending, I chuckle gleefully at the cuts to the discretionary spending. The howls of outrage from the liberal side of the aisle would fill me with joy. It would also give Trump the leverage he needs to not only control the dialog but make sure something happened. How? Because it would keep the government open, it would lead to voters putting pressure on their representatives and it would mean the pols would have to sit down and actually negotiate to reach a deal on the budget, one that includes border security.
But that is for later. Right now, we need to worry about the current deal falling through. Here’s hoping not only that the Dems don’t try a last minute end run and skuttle the deal. Here’s hoping as well that Trump signs it. It isn’t the deal many of us wanted but it is far better than nothing. It is the first step in the right direction. Once that is signed, then let’s hope Trump does hold Pelosi’s feet to the fire and uses the threat of sequester to finally get a workable deal on border security.