Will we be finding a new spending bill under our Christmas tree this year or a big old lump of coal in our stocking? (Any liberals reading this are free to substitute a broken piece of solar panel for the lump of coal.) Most of the themes I’ve been seeing on CNN have painted a picture of the President being “increasingly isolated” on the budget question, leaving the GOP majority in both chambers in the dark as to what they should be doing. After all, there’s no sense passing a bill that the White House is just going to veto anyway, assuming President Trump makes good on his threat.

But is the President really fighting the border wall battle alone? Not according to the more conservative Freedom Caucus members in the House. They’re ready to push for $5B in border wall funding and let the ship burn down around them if they must. (Washington Times)

House conservatives are cheering President Trump on in his desire for a government shutdown, saying they have his back in the standoff over border wall money.

Though party leaders have been reluctant to test the GOP’s strength, the conservatives insist they should vote on a bill containing $5 billion for wall funding in the House.

“Heck yeah — and I think it’ll pass,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican. “We’re going to have the money for the wall — exactly what the president talked about.”

Until the new class is seated the Republican still hold the majority in the House. So, at least in theory, they should be able to wrangle the votes for a budget containing the border wall funding. Of course, the “in theory” part is a big factor because it’s not really a homogenous group. But let’s just say it gets through the House. Doesn’t Cocaine Mitch have to shepherd the bill through the Senate? He’s not saying much yet. (The Hill)

McConnell has made it clear that he wants to avoid a government shutdown, for which Republicans would get most of the blame.

“The leader has expressed his views on a partial shutdown several times publicly,” a McConnell aide told The Hill. But he’s letting Trump, who has threatened to veto a spending bill that fails to fund his wall, take the lead.

“It’s the president battle so I think he’s going to set the terms,” said Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas), McConnell’s top deputy in leadership.

Smart move on McConnel’s part. He holds a slim majority now which will be increasing a bit in January, but by then, control of the House will be gone. Also, the Senate Democrats can filibuster the spending bill in opposition to the wall funding if they wish.

But wait… if the Democrats filibuster, doesn’t that mean that the ensuing shutdown will be their fault? In a more normal world, yes. It would mean precisely that. But the President has already brought a big smile to Chuck Schumer’s face by saying he would “proudly” take ownership of a shutdown, so that ship has sailed.

If we have to go into another shutdown this far out from the next election, I think it comes out pretty much as a wash for the GOP, provided it doesn’t drag on overly long. It will be an excellent opportunity for Republicans to point out all of the Democrats who previously voted for border “barrier” funding as a priority but are now suddenly opposed to any such spending just to jam a thumb in Trump’s eye.

Public polling on border wall spending is rather up in the air. It’s generally been a winner with the public, but lately, we’ve been seeing suggestions that voters are happy to have the wall, but not so happy to have to pay for it and don’t want a shutdown over it.

I’ll go out on a limb and make a prediction here. Well, two predictions, actually. First, if both chambers pass a bill with a lower amount of wall funding, Trump will turn around and sign it, probably saying that he was just whipping them up to get them to take action. But if the deal falls apart in the Senate under a filibuster, Trump will just let the government shut down and hang out in Florida until the leadership comes up with a workable compromise, all the while tweeting about the Democrats and their lax attitude toward border security.