Donald Trump is about to give away what could be his last chance to get Congress to fund the wall he wants built between the Unites States and Mexico.
Trump wanted $5 billion for his wall this year, but the Republican-controlled Congress once again refused to appropriate anything for it in either the five full-year appropriations or the continuing resolution it has sent to the White House.
Trump could express his displeasure and disappointment over Congress refusing yet again to fund his wall by vetoing the CR, triggering a government shutdown and forcing a showdown with Congress over the issue, and for a time it looked and sounded like he might do just that.
But rather than make a stand over funding for his wall, Trump stated yesterday during an appearance in New York with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he would not shut the government before the election over this issue.
Trump, the president who always claims he’s great at dealmaking, let the supposedly friendly GOP-controlled Congress play him big time. Congress didn’t want a pre-election shutdown, gave Trump absolutely nothing for his wall to get his cooperation and then called his bluff by in effect telling him to take it or leave it.
And, rather than trying to cut any kind of deal with the House and Senate controlled by his own party, Trump took it.
in other words, for all of his bluster and promises over the past six months that he wouldn’t sign a CR, omnibus appropriation or regular appropriation if it didn’t fund his wall, Trump folded.
Trump didn’t even get a promise from the GOP congressional leadership that it would fund his wall in the lame duck session of Congress. All House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the president was that a shutdown after the election would be better than a shutdown before…and he bought it.
It’s very likely that the lame duck Congress won’t provide funds for Trump’s wall given that it has repeatedly refused to do so up to now and the retiring and defeated members will be less reliable votes for the White House.
Funding for the wall will be even less likely if the Democratic wave many are expecting in this election actually occurs and is interpreted by Republicans as a rejection of Trump and his policies.
And a Democratic House and/or Senate majority over the next two years is even less likely to fund Trump’s wall that the Republican majorities have been the past two years.
Trump still has three days to change his mind and veto the take-it-or-leave it deal Congress is offering him. If he doesn’t, Trump’s wall may never be heard from again.
Follow Stan Collender on Twitter @thebudgetguy.