US House Passes Bill With $5 Billion For Trump's Wall
The House on Thursday passed a stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown that included $5 billion for border wall funding.
That put the House at odds with the Senate and increased the likelihood of a government shutdown. The bill is at odds with a Senate bill that passed Wednesday that did not include the money for the border wall funding.
The bill is considered dead on arrival in the Senate, which requires a 60-vote majority for it to pass. If it fails in the Senate, House leadership has to decide whether they want to put a clean CR on the floor with no additional border wall or disaster funding. That would probably pass with almost entirely Democratic votes and a few Republican votes, sending it to the president's desk.
Mr. Trump said earlier Thursday that he would not sign the Senate bill passed Wednesday which would keep the government funded through February. Mr. Trump is unwilling to sign a bill which does not contain funding for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
"I've made my position very clear: any measure that funds the government must include border security," Mr. Trump said in relatively lengthy remarks on border security at the farm bill signing Thursday afternoon.
House Speaker Paul Ryan first reported that Mr. Trump was unwilling to sign the Senate bill after meeting with the president Thursday afternoon. Ryan said that the House Republicans would rework their bill to include wall funding.
"We're going to go back and work on adding border security to this also keeping the government open because we want to see an agreement," Ryan said.
Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney and House Freedom Caucus leaders Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows met with Mr. Trump at noon.
The president added a sense of uncertainty to the prospects for the bill when he tweeted Thursday morning, "When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership. Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn't happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries - but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!"
Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Republicans are in "disarray" right now. Pelosi on Thursday said that additional wall funding would be a "non-starter."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reiterated Thursday that Democrats are not willing to support $5 billion in wall funding.
"Democrats are not budging on the wall. We favor smart, effective border security, not a medieval wall," Schumer said. "They can, having caught the trump temper tantrum fever, jump up and down, yell and scream. It is not going to get a wall. And they, neither Mr. Meadows or Mr. Jordan have outlined any conceivable plan on how to achieve what they say they want to achieve."
Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala., say there are two big concerns right now: First, there's "no guarantee," as Curbelo put it, that Mr. Trump will sign the bill. Brooks called it "the $5 billion question." Mr. Trump's conservative allies, including Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, are urging him to veto the bill because of a lack of southern border wall funding.
Adding to the uncertainty, senators were told Wednesday night that they could leave at their discretion. A not insignificant number of them have apparently already left town or are preparing to do so. So, if the House passes a measure that is other than the Senate-passed continuing resolution, it will take some time to get senators back to Washington for a vote.
Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus spoke out at a Thursday Republican conference morning meeting and pressed leadership to abandon the Senate-passed continuing resolution, according to an aide familiar with the situation.
"Now is the time to fight for border security," Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., said in the meeting.
After meeting with Mr. Trump, House Republicans worked throughout Thursday afternoon to present an alternative funding bill that includes the president's demanded 5 billion dollars for border wall funding and around 8 billion dollars for disaster relief funding for affected parts of the country hit by natural disasters in the past year, according to Whip Scalise.
Scalise was pressed by reporters about this new continuing resolution not being able to pass the Senate due to the border wall funding.
"Well, Pelosi said this wouldn't have the votes to pass the House and we are gonna prove her wrong there," Scalise replied.
The Republican whip would not say if the House will vote on this new funding resolution on Thursday.
In all, the House Republicans most loyal to Mr. Trump see this funding fight as the last-ditch effort to build the border wall before Democrats take control of the House next year.
"The wall fight fill continue on, but I'm not as optimistic about winning when you have control of the House, the Senate and the White House," Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters on Thursday afternoon.