PRESIDENT Donald Trump walked out of his meeting with Democrats aimed at finding common ground to solve the border crisis and END the government shutdown.
This happened after he asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if he would be getting the $5.7 billion to fund his wall (which he claimed during his address from the Oval Office is but a part of the solution to the border crisis) and Pelosi said NO. Trump said “bye-bye” and left.
The spending bill passed by the Democrats and the Republicans in the House already appropriated $1.6 billion to strengthen the border. Contrary to the misinformation being peddled by Trump and his minions, the Democrats want to strengthen the borders but do not believe spending too much money on a medieval wall will be the most cost-effective way to solve the problem. They were hoping to negotiate with the president on a smarter way using technology to help solve the crisis at the border, to deter illegal entry of undocumented immigrants, stop the infestation of drugs and the entry of criminals not only in the southern border but in points of entry to the United States. For Trump, however — no wall, no talk, no stopping the government shutdown.
On Thursday, January 10, House Democrats and Republicans passed a spending bill that hoped to open the government but did not provide funding for the wall. The bill was sent to the Senate where at least three Republicans have signified voting yes, BUT Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would not even subject the bill and any other bill to a vote because Trump would not sign them.
Therefore, on Friday, January 11, more than 800,00 federal workers, who have been working without pay or have been furloughed since December 22, 2018, received a $0 paycheck to pay for their mortgage or rent, credit cards, tuition for their children, car payments, medical insurance premiums, medicines, gas, and all their basic needs. Most of them have depleted their savings, many living paycheck-to-paycheck. Others contracted loans to help them survive, while some sold whatever assets they have to pay for the bills.
But not only the federal workers and their families are hurting because of the government shutdown, WE all are affected as we all depend on government services like food and drug inspections, our tax refund, the security in our airports and other ports of entry, immigration court hearings, etc — all because President Trump chose to continue to shut down the government until he gets his taxpayers’ money to pay for his wall that he promised Mexico would be paying for.
Trump even doubled down on his lies when he claimed federal workers were willing to sacrifice so he could continue fighting for his wall, when in fact federal workers have staged protests and even filed lawsuits against the administration.
The president also attempted to rewrite history by claiming he never said Mexico would write a check to pay for the wall when videos during the campaign would just prove he is lying. He built his campaign around that promise to build the wall, deport undocumented immigrants using rhetoric that demonizes immigrants from the south and other people of color — branding them as rapists, drug peddlers, human traffickers, violent criminals with links to terrorists — all to stoke fear to win the election.
As the impasse continues and as he and the Republican Party have been feeling the backlash of their using federal workers as hostages to get taxpayers’ money for his wall, Trump is now seriously planning on declaring a national emergency to build his wall. He has been planning to use the funds appropriated for disaster relief to help the victims of floods and wildfires in Texas, California, and Puerto Rico.
The Democrats and a growing number of Republicans would not budge and give in to Trump’s demand because they do not want to reward the President for using federal workers as hostages to get the money for his wall. They worry that if they give in now, nothing would stop Trump to use the same dirty immoral tactic again to get what he wants. Republicans also worry that a Democratic president in the future may also do what Trump has been doing and circumvent Congress, which has been accorded “the power of the purse” by the Constitution.
And with the pathological lying President Trump has been doing every day, his fabrication of an emergency without basis in facts, what will happen to the United States when a real emergency happens? Will people believe him? Will our allies believe him?
If Trump decides to insist on funding for the wall and takes on the route of declaring a national emergency, he knows he may be facing a long legal battle. Meanwhile, there seems to be no end in sight for the longest government shutdown as Trump takes America down the drain with him just because he cannot get what he wants like a spoiled bratty toddler.
Help us God!
Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos