Congress heads toward border wall fight after midterms
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.
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.