Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats are doing everything they can to re-open the United States government. They are taking important steps to increase the pressure on Donald Trump and other Republicans to end the shutdown impasse over border wall funding.
Pelosi and Democrats believe they have a winning hand in the high-stakes standoff that is affecting the lives of millions of Americans. House Democrats this week will put together several non-controversial funding bills that would re-open several federal agencies. Not included would be the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for border security and Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico.
Pelosi plans to send the bills to the Senate one by one which will force Republicans to explain their lack of action on legislation that they unanimously passed just a few weeks ago.
Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said Monday:
“I have said over and over again, we need to reopen the government and then have a serious discussion about border security.”
“Isolate the border wall issue, take a month to discuss it, but don’t hold up all the essential services — like the Agriculture Department, Interior, parks, housing, transportation — all the other parts of the government.”
“The president is really causing great hardship to the average person in this country.”
House Democrats will reconsider tomorrow four spending bills they passed last week, starting with a vote on a financial services proposal that would provide funding for the Treasury Department and IRS. In recent days it has been reported that millions of taxpayer refunds will be delayed because of Trump’s shutdown, and Pelosi hopes that this is a bill that Republicans would consider passing.
Later this week, Democrats plan to pass three additional spending bills for the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration; the Interior Department, which includes the National Park Service; and the Transportation and public housing departments.
Their strategy is clear: Democrats want to highlight the extreme negative effects of the partial shutdown — which has caused nearly 800,000 federal employees — as well as millions of federal contractors — to lose paychecks.
Trump’s shutdown has also threatened important services to millions of Americans but Trump and Republicans are still demanding the $5.7 billion in border wall funding.
“We’re working this week on the ones that have a big impact on families,” said a Democratic aide about the legislation Pelosi is preparing to send to the Senate.
A few days ago House Democrats passed a single omnibus bill that would fund those same agencies through September. But Senate Republicans have refused to consider the House legislation because Trump is opposed to it.
In a separate bill Democrats also passed a short-term extension of funding for the Homeland Security Department with no funding for a border wall. This bill is awaiting action by the Senate as a stand-alone bill.
Senate Democrats are helping their House colleagues, pledging to paralyze the Senate and stop consideration of any bill unrelated to government funding before the shutdown is ended.
And it looks that will be quite a while. According to Lowey:
“From my perspective, what happened yesterday … there was no progress made.”
She was referring to negotiations Sunday between Democratic appropriations staffers and top administration officials. Neither party’s leaders has shown any willingness to budge on the question of wall funding at this point.
Trump plans will speak on national television tonight attempting to get the American public to swallow his lies about the border wall. It is not expected to do any good, however, as the majority of people don’t want a border wall and know that the shutdown is Trump’s fault.
Neither side is blinking as of yet, but as time goes on the odds of Pelosi winning the shutdown battle will increase.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.