Trump Signals a Walk Back on His Hardline Budget Demands, & Washington Scrambles



Well. That didn’t take long.

Earlier today, I wrote about the gridlock in Washington over a budget agreement, centered around Trump’s insistence on a $5 billion dollar package for the border wall (here).


As I surmised in that piece, of the Friday deadline, “[T]hree days in Washington years is a pretty long time. Anything could happen.”

Welcome to Anything.

At some point while I was dotting my i’s on the one article, the White House made a move of concession in its fight for the ominous partition between the U.S. and Mexico. That, according to Politico, led to “a flurry of optimism on Capitol Hill that quickly translated into a round of failed deal-making by the afternoon.”

Leaders on both sides are working to come to an agreement. However, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi informed the press shortly after a pow-wow with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, “Right now, what they offered, we have not accepted, and I don’t know what the path might be.”

Therefore, the fight continues. But with the new possibility of resolution provided by Trump’s walk back of sorts.

As claimed by a White House aide, Senate Majority Leader (and one of the least excitable men I’ve ever watched speak) Mitch McConnell put in an offer to the other side of the aisle: the Senate’s bipartisan bill for homeland security funding, which included $1.6 billion for a fence work, plus $1 billion toward a wall.


Democrats gave the Thumbs Down.

Prior to that, Sarah Sanders had spoken hope into the hopelessness of an impasse via an interview with Fox News Tuesday:

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion that we’ll work with Congress if they will make sure that we get a bill passed that provides not just the funding for the wall, but there is a piece of legislation that has been pushed around…that provides roughly $26 billion in border security including $1.6 billion for the wall.”

Despite a lack of resolution, Republican Sen. Shelly Moore Capito noted the optimism of Sanders’s news:

“The emphasis on the desire to not have a shutdown is a major plus.”

Just a little over two days ago, the Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller explained to CBS that compromise wasn’t an option:

“We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration.”

But Sanders’s remarks told a different tale.

“It’s not to anybody’s political benefit to shut the government down right now so I think the likelihood of some concessions are very high.”

She suggested money for the wall could alternately come from the nation’s military budget. This was hit upon by Trump in a December 11th Fox interview, wherein he proposed the following:


“If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. “

Please see my complete coverage of that story here.

Weeks after the President signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill in March that landed very far from his initial border demands, he expressed regret and a learned lesson.

But Donald Trump doesn’t make decisions merely on principle. He shifts and moves with the situation. In this case, Sen. John Cornyn thinks that’s a good thing:

“I don’t know anybody on the Hill that wants a shutdown and I think all the president’s advisers are telling him this would not be good. So now I think they are pivoting to this idea to use the military and existing funding to build the infrastructure they want to build. And that makes me more optimistic.”

Cornyn sees Trump’s pivot as a Merry turn of events:

“I’m starting to feel like a combination of Christmas being right upon us and people’s desire to go home makes it feel like it’s all coming together here.”

Either way, much of the government has already been funded. But given news of concession, if resolution is Congress’s gift to America, I’d say It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.



Relevant RedState links in this article: here and here.

See 3 more pieces from me: an amazing moment in Nashville, Alyssa Milano trying again, and a really really really bad typo.

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

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