Con­gress heads to­ward bor­der wall fight af­ter midterms

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - POLITICS - BY LISA MASCARO AND MATTHEW DALY

WASH­ING­TON — Con­gress is head­ing to­ward a post­elec­tion show­down over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der, as GOP lead­ers sig­nal they’re will­ing to en­gage in hard­ball tac­tics that could spark a par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down and the pres­i­dent revs up midterm crowds for the wall, a cen­ter­piece of his 2016 cam­paign and a top White House pri­or­ity.

Trump is promis­ing vot­ers at ral­lies across the coun­try that Repub­li­cans will bring tougher bor­der se­cu­rity in cam­paign speeches that echo those that pro­pelled him to of­fice two years ago. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promised a “big fight” over the bor­der wall money and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., has not ruled out a mini-shut­down as GOP lead­ers look to help Trump “get what he’s look­ing for” on the wall.

“Democrats want to abol­ish Amer­ica’s bor­ders and al­low drugs and gangs to pour into our coun­try,” Trump said with­out ev­i­dence Wed­nes­day in Erie, Penn­syl­va­nia.

“Right af­ter the elec­tion we’re do­ing some­thing very strong on the wall,” Trump added Thurs­day in an in­ter­view on “Fox & Friends.”

Repub­li­cans steered clear of shut­down pol­i­tics ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elec­tion. They know vot­ers have soured on gov­ern­ment dys­func­tion, hold low views of Con­gress and are un­likely to re­ward Repub­li­cans — as the party in con­trol of Con­gress and the White House — if post of­fices, na­tional parks and other ser­vices are shut­tered.

GOP lead­ers struck a deal with Democrats ear­lier this year to fund most of the gov­ern­ment into next year. They pre­sented their case to Trump in a White House meet­ing in Septem­ber — com­plete with pho­tos of the bor­der wall un­der con­struc­tion. Trump, who pre­vi­ously warned he would not sign an­other big bud­get bill into law with­out his bor­der funds, qui­etly signed the leg­is­la­tion be­fore the start of the new bud­get year Oct. 1.

AP PHOTO/EVAN VUCCI

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­views bor­der wall pro­to­types with Rod­ney Scott, the Bor­der Pa­trol’s San Diego sec­tor chief, in March. GOP lead­ers sig­nal they’re will­ing to en­gage in hard­ball tac­tics over the bor­der wall.

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