House Democrats have announced plans to pass a funding bill that will end the shutdown — but will not provide funding for President Donald Trump’s border fencing/wall — immediately after being sworn in as the majority party on Thursday. It’s unclear what fate will await the Democrats’ measure in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The government has been partially shut down since Congress was unable to reach a funding deal on December 21st. Republicans and Democrats believed they had reached a deal to fund the government through most of 2019, but plans were scuttled when President Trump prevailed on Republicans in the House to insist on a provision that would provide $5 billion in funding for a border wall with Mexico. Democrats in the Senate promptly threatened to filibuster any funding measure that provided for a border wall, and the two sides have been at an impasse ever since, with no end in sight.
As a result of the November elections, however, Democrats will take over control of the House of Representatives when the new Congress is sworn in on Thursday, and they plan to introduce their own funding measure, according to Politico.
According to Politico, House Democrats plan to immediately pass a two-part funding measure; one that would fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 8th, and one that would fund the rest of the government through the end of the current fiscal year.
Senate Republicans have not yet commented on the Democrats’ plans, but it seems unlikely that the government will re-open unless President Trump changes his public stance in either case. Trump has promised to oppose any plan to re-open the government that does not include funding for his signature campaign progress.
Thus, even if both chambers do ultimately pass a funding measure that does not contain wall funding, a presidential veto would keep the government closed, since Trump almost certainly retains enough support in both chambers for his wall plans to sustain a veto, at least for now.
Democratic leaders in both chambers, meanwhile, have likewise promised that they are content to allow the government to remain partially shut down forever rather than fund a border wall, which means that unless either side blinks, the government will remain shut down for the foreseeable future.
Right now, the political calculus for both sides remains murky. A recent poll conducted by Reuters indicated that President Trump is bearing the brunt of the blame with the public for the shutdown; however, the three most recent government shutdowns appear to have not been major factors in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 elections. Thus, President Trump may well feel emboldened to risk a lengthy shutdown in the hopes that voters will continue to not view a shutdown as catastrophically as the media.