The wall, the drug lord and the looming shutdown

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.

Paying for the wall.

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.

Senator Ted Cruz has suggested passing what he called the “El Chapo Act” to pay for the border wall.

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.

What if the so-called compromise falls through?

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.


Featured Image: Border Wall at Tijuana and San Diego, © Tomas Castelazo, / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. (Image cropped from the original version.)

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  • GWB says:

    Once again, we find ourselves staring at the possibility of a government shutdown.
    Better to say:
    Once again, we find ourselves being extorted by our very own government.
    Nice country you have there. Hate to see anything happen to it.

    And the only real solution is to get the electorate to insist the national gov’t return to being a federal gov’t and limit its activities and authority to Constitutional bounds.
    Until then, we’ll continue to get the gov’t that 50%+1 of that electorate deserves.

    may be in jail for life
    Note, “MAY“. There shouldn’t even be a possibility of this evil man seeing the outside of a prison. Heck, there shouldn’t be the possibility of this man living out a natural life. But somehow the death penalty is “cruel” and “unusual” for this man. *smdh*

    turning us into a pale imitation of the Soviet Bloc after World War II
    A piss poor imitation, too, since the machine guns on our wall would point the other way.

    I chuckle gleefully at the cuts to the discretionary spending
    None of it will make any difference until we can cut non-discretionary spending.

    And, again, I advocate for several things to put our country back on the right track:
    1. Repeal the 16th Amendment (17th, too, but that’s a different argument)
    2. If not repealing the 16th, require all annual taxes to be paid in cash/check/m.o. the Thursday before the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) in November
    3. Require Congress to fund each and every department/independent agency separately with their own bills
    4. Require Congress to add specific Constitutional justification to each spending item and to the overall bill
    5. Require any dept./agency without a spending authorization or a de-authorization of the dept./agency at the beginning of the fiscal year to be funded from Congress’ and the President’s salary and office appropriations* until that money is exhausted or an appropriations bill or de-authorization act is passed
    (* So, salaries, salaries of aides/staff, money for junkets/travel/food/haircuts/insurance premiums/memberships/etc. This is for both the Legislative and Executive branches.)

    • GWB says:

      5.a. If the dept./agency does not have an appropriations bill passed and signed into law after one year of being “unfunded”, then it is automatically eliminated, unless specifically authorized by the Constitution.

      So, if the President and Congress (at least more than 1/3 of it) are willing to sacrifice whatever of their budget is required to fund it for an entire year, they can actually kill it by benign neglect.

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