Stopgap spending bill looks like more business as usual

The Senate did something last night which should have been the most normal thing imaginable, but these days seems almost remarkable. They managed to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government open until early February. Taking their cue from the White House, the Senators moved forward without providing the $5B President Trump was looking for to fund border wall construction. Other than that it almost looked like business as usual. Of course, it still has to be approved in the House, but we may get a vote on that sometime this morning. (NY Post)

The Senate passed a short-term spending bill late Wednesday to fund the government through Feb. 8 – without added funds for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

The legislation passed by voice vote on the Senate floor after several senators were singing Christmas carols in the back of the chamber to urge their colleagues to avoid a holiday government shutdown at midnight Friday.

So, it’s a holiday moment of Senate comity to bring everyone together around the Yule log, right? Well… not quite. None of this cooperative spirit stopped Chuck Schumer from playing the Scrooge. Just keeping the government open wasn’t enough for him. He needed to rub salt in the wound so he could claim some small press victory over Donald Trump.

“It’s good that our Republican colleagues in the Senate finally realized that they should not shut down the government over a wall that does not have enough support to pass the House or Senate and is not supported by a majority of the country,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said after the vote.

Really classy, Senator Schumer. And happy belated Hanukkah to you too, sir.

So we’re all set for a vote in the House, right? Maybe. But the House Freedom Caucus is still demanding immediate border wall funding, no matter how they get it. HFC Chairman Mark Meadows was releasing this statement just as the Senate was voting on the stopgap bill.

“The president many months ago said he wouldn’t sign another funding bill unless we gave him wall funding. So what did this House do? It passed a bill to fund the Department of Defense and passed a short-term CR and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to have that fight, but we’re going to have that fight after the midterms.’ You know what, Mr. Speaker? It’s after the midterms. And we’re here to say that we’re ready to fight on behalf of all the freedom-loving Americans to make sure we have secure borders. Mr. President, we’re going to back you up. If you veto this bill we’ll be there. But more importantly, the American people will be there. They’ll be there to support you. Let’s build the wall and make sure that we do our job in Congress.”

If the House Freedom Caucus wants to execute a shutdown at this late stage over border wall funding when the White House has already indicated that they’re ready to put this fight off for another day, it’s difficult to know what to think. Assuming a majority of the Republicans are ready to go along with the Senate plan and enough Democrats will sign on without the full border wall funding, it probably still passes. But that’s only a “probably” until the gavel falls. After all, this is still 2018.

Assuming this goes through and everyone goes home for the holidays, how does the President wind up funding the wall? Well… you could always try the GoFundMe page. I hear they’re shooting for a billion dollars in wall contributions. Heck, they raised more than two million in the first three days.