We're still a few days away from a federal government shutdown as Congress has not passed a new continuing resolution that will fund the government at fiscal 2016 levels, but a shutdown may have just become slightly less likely.
Trump reportedly told conservative media outlets that he will make a push for wall funding in September.
In remarks to conservative news media outlets that were confirmed by the White House, Trump said on Monday evening he may wait until Republicans begin drafting the budget blueprint for the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1 to seek funds for the wall.
Trump's fellow Republicans control both chambers of Congress but the current funding bill, which has to be passed by Friday night, will need 60 votes to clear the 100-member Senate, where Republicans hold 52 seats and so will have to get some Democratic support. Democratic leaders had said it would not get it if funds for the wall were included.
Trump apparently believes he'll be able to fund the wall, pass tax reform, and repeal Obamacare in September.
I've been over this many times before, but I'm going to explain why that probably won't happen.
When Congress returns from summer recess in September, they'll have just a few short weeks to fund the federal government in fiscal 2018 which begins on October 1st. A fully functional Congress would have already begun the process of funding the government for the next fiscal year long before today, but we don't have a fully functional Congress.
The appropriations process takes a great deal of time and consideration to complete which is why debate on individual funding bills would ordinarily begin almost immediately after the winter break or the start of a new session of Congress. But, as you know, our Republican-controlled Congress is not even attempting to complete the appropriations process this year.
House Republican leadership, in all their wisdom, decided that repealing Obamacare and passing "tax reform" was more important than completing the appropriations process, but they haven't managed to accomplish either of those goals. And because they haven't accomplished those goals, or much of anything else, their entire agenda has been pushed back to the nebulous period of time between the summer recess and the next fiscal year.
Democrats will have just as much if not more leverage in September as they do today and they will be able to block the passage of any funding bills that include funding for a border wall, but they may not have to. Congressional Republicans don't appear to be all that interested in funding a border wall either and Trump is caving before even testing Democratic resolve.
There are only so many days of session in a congressional calendar year and Republicans constistently overestimate their own productivity and ability to pass legislation. They, or at least Trump, still seemingly believe they can completely rewrite the entire structure of the federal government, healthcare system, and tax code in less time than it takes to confirm a single agency nominee, although Trump hasn't nominated anyone for many positions either.
When the next fiscal year arrives and we're still funding the federal government at levels originally signed into law by President Obama, I do intend to say 'I told you so.'
I don't see much reason to believe things will be any different next year, an election year, when congressional Republicans are still considering what to do about the remainder of fiscal 2018 while fiscal 2019 looms on the horizon.
Our Republican-controlled Congress has not completed the appropriations process for several years and the federal government is currently funded at spending levels agreed to in 2015 under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015. Spending levels have not changed significantly since then and it's anyone guess how long that will last.