At Tuesday evening’s rally in Phoenix, Ariz., President Donald Trump repeated the threat of government shutdown should Congress refuse to fund a border wall on the U.S.–Mexico border.
“If we have to close down the government, we are building that wall,” President Trump said. His comments echo his tweets sent in May, expressing the sentiment that the “country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”
The president’s insistence on shutting down the government over the budget and wall will no doubt anger Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as he adamantly opposes the prospect of a government shutdown. In the spring, the Senate majority leader orchestrated a budget deal that funded Democrat priorities — all to avoid taking blame for a shutdown.
"Congress owns the government shutdown brand. And there's no incentive, frankly, for either side, to go to the brink," Sen. McConnell said in April. Since then, McConnell has given no indication that he has changed his mind on the issue.
Should President Trump veto a government funding bill that does not fund the border wall, Congress will be put in a very difficult situation. Republicans would have to join with Democrats to override the president’s veto and keep the government open.
Any Republican who votes for a budget sans southern-border wall opens one’s self to a primary challenge from the Right on the immigration issue.
It remains to be seen if the president’s shutdown threat will be backed by action … or is just rally rhetoric. Congress will consider appropriations legislation to fund the government when it returns from the August recess in September.