Failure Theater in Congress

The government is currently shut down and has been for all of this month. The issue is border security; Trump wants about $6 billion for a variety of border security measures including a barrier of some kind (a wall by any other name). Democrats are willing to pay for surveillance, drones, sensors... anything except an actual, physical security measure that would be effective in stopping border crossers. Somehow, despite Trump's electoral victory running on this issue and his party holding a majority (admittedly a slim one) in both houses of Congress during the first two years of his presidency, the Republicans couldn't get it done.

This is because most elected Republicans don't really want a wall. Trump got rolled by Ryan and McConnell promising to fund the wall "next time". Funny, by the time "next time" rolled around, there was an election and nothing got done in the lame duck period.

And if he's not careful, Trump is going to get rolled now. The Senate has been happily playing failure theater by claiming that they need 60 votes to pass legislation. They do... sort of.

McConnell has broken the Democrat filibuster for judges and Supreme Court nominees before. He can do the same for this, if need be. It would be silly and low-stakes to make it necessary, but it seems the Democrats are intent on making it necessary. They want the political victory over Trump.

But the Senate also has another tool to overcome filibusters: budget reconciliation. Items affecting the budget (ie, financially related, spending or not spending money) can be passed with a bare majority using this process.

So why is McConnell negotiating with Schumer to get to 60 in the Senate? He should be passing legislation to fund the wall using reconciliation and sending it to the House to keep the heat on Pelosi.

This entry was published Fri Jan 25 12:01:42 CST 2019 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2019-01-25 12:01:42.0. [Tweet]

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