As Fox News reminds us, five years ago, the entire Senate Democratic caucus approved the construction of hundreds of miles of fencing along the US-Mexico border.
But now that President Donald Trump has decided that building the Wall is a political hill worthy of dying on – Bloomberg’s words – the Democrats have vowed to oppose any request for funding that would go toward building the wall, starting with Trump’s $18 billion proposal unveiled last week.
And with the present continuing resolution bill set to expire on Jan. 19, Trump has vowed to veto any spending bill that doesn’t approve funding for his wall – even if that means shutting down the federal government to establish his leverage.
However, funding for the federal government’s day-to-day operations isn’t the only thing at stake here. As Bloomberg explains, an impasse over immigration could delay other pressing legislative priorities, like badly needed disaster relief for Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and California.
An immigration agreement could open the way to a broad spending bill, which in turn could carry disaster relief funds, legislation stabilizing Obamacare and other measures that stalled in December.
The question now is whether Democrats will hold firm in their red line against wall money – and whether they or Trump have stronger resolve.
Several border wall prototypes commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security have already been completed along a stretch of border territory near San Diego.
Just yesterday, it appeared a bipartisan group of senators had secured an “agreement in principle” for an immigration compromise that would’ve preserved legal protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
But in the wake of the latest White House controversy – a report that he referred to Haiti, El Salvador and other developing countries as “shitholes” and suggested admitting more immigrants from countries like Norway – Trump has confirmed that lawmakers are no closer to a deal than they were four months ago, when Trump struck a tentative deal with “Chuck and Nancy” to preserve DACA, only to walk it back weeks later.