January 02, 2019
In this new year of 2019, one old acquaintance that won't be forgotten is the partial government shutdown of December 2018. As many Americans headed off to spend Christmas vacations with friends and family, Congress worked on a short-term deal to fund the government. President Trump indicated that he would veto any short-term deal that didn't adequately address border security. When Congress failed to come to an agreement, the federal government entered a partial shutdown the Saturday before Christmas. Almost 12 full days later, the standoff between the president and Congressional Democrats remains as Congress returns this week.
The first order of business tomorrow when the 116th Congress convenes for the first time is voting for Speaker. After the Democrats have the gavel in hand, the House is expected to have two votes related to the government shutdown and spending. First, they will vote on an appropriations package for spending bills that have yet to be signed into law for the FY19 year, including the Department of Homeland Security spending bill, which has been the center of the shutdown controversy. The president has insisted on five billion dollars in spending for a border wall, which the Department of Homeland Security requests for securing our nation's southern border. Democrats are currently not offering any counter proposal. The presumptive Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) and new Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said they will vote on a "minibus" spending package since these bills were approved last year by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
But not only does this package exclude the border wall funding, it also contains major pro-life problems. Unrelated to Homeland Security and the border wall, the mini-bus spending bill will contain last year's Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations committee bill which hurts or removes key pro-life policies that are already in place. Specifically, this part of the bill that Democrats plan to pass would gut the Mexico City Policy first implemented by Ronald Reagan and restored by President Trump to prevent funding for foreign NGO's that perform abortion.
The second bill Pelosi intends to have the House pass is the short term continuing resolution (CR) the Senate passed before Christmas keep the government funded through February 8th. Lost in the press is that the House and Senate and president signed spending bills already for our national security by passing the Department of Defense spending bill and Labor, Health and Human Services spending bill. But border security and funds needed to build a border wall has stalled the negotiations, despite the request of additional funds coming from the Department of Homeland Security.
This shutdown is playing an important role in setting the tone for government for the next two years. As we move into a new Democrat-controlled Congress, the president's resolve will be tested against legislators bound to obstruct him at every move. Unlike other politicians who come to the negotiating table waving a white flag, President Trump is standing firm for his promise of border security. Donald Trump campaigned on border security, and he is simply keeping his promises to the American people.
President Trump strongly believes, and I agree, that it's time to take our border security seriously, because we care that American greatness can safely be offered to all who come here legally. Our hard-won freedom must be protected by the rule of law. Failure to preserve this rule of law will lead to a loss of freedom and safety for all Americans.
The Democrats have the votes in the House now to pass both bills, though they are dead on arrival in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made clear he wants to pass a bill that can be supported by the president. The president and conservatives in Congress should do everything possible to ensure that all that's been done in the past 2 years isn't undone by a Democrat-controlled House. Shutting down a small part of the government is a small price to pay for making sure that the new Congress doesn't restart the leftist machine that plagued America during the previous administration.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.