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Congress Must #ReadTheDeal Before Voting

Congress
Yesterday, our friend Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government, issued a statement urging President Donald Trump to insist on a 14-day continuing resolution while the details of the omnibus spending bill are reviewed.

“The devil is in the details,” said Manning, “and this is particularly true when discussing 1,000-page bills that may have poison pills in them which could put the President in jeopardy should he seek to exercise his executive authority to move funds for additional ICE detention beds, or seek to build additional steel barriers along the southern border utilizing other funding streams. A single, unnoticed line in a thousand-page bill can be the catalyst for future legal problems and as a result, the President and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should push and get a 14-day funding bill to allow the behind closed border deal to receive full scrutiny.”

“A 14-day continuing resolution would allow the House to go on their scheduled district work period and return to D.C.” Manning noted, “with a full week to work through amendments that will be needed by the Senate and White House to get the bill passed and signed into law.”

“In politics trust is everything.  This President has no reason to trust that Speaker Pelosi did not insert trap language into the bill,” concluded Mr. Manning, “and he would be wise to verify that the proposed legislation is free from language that would prevent meaningful action to address the crisis at the border.  While everyone would like to see this drama finally come to an end, it is better to get it right than to regret signing the bill later.”

We agree wholeheartedly with Manning’s statement because we well remember what Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about Obamacare: We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.

What’s more, we agree with the observation that “In politics trust is everything” and we see no reason to trust most of the Republicans on the Conference Committee that has been negotiating the deal.

Based on what has leaked out so far, the “agreement in principle” that Capitol Hill Republicans have struck with Democrats is a deal to avoid another partial government shutdown, not a deal to build the Wall and improve border security and on that basis the deal appears to be another craven cave-in by the Capitol Hill GOP.

This cave-in should really surprise no one because, as we have regularly pointed out in past columns, the Capitol Hill Republicans on the Conference Committee were, as usual, AWOL on the Wall.

The best Rep. Kay Granger could muster was that she has worked well with senior Democrat Rep. Lowey in the past while the others issued bland statements talking about bipartisan solutions to border security.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby issued no pre-hearing statement we could find and remained mum about fighting for the Wall throughout the negotiations.

At least Senator Shelly Moore Capito did mention the Wall in a statement, saying upon her appointment to the Conference Committee, “I also crafted a bipartisan bill, which passed in June, that provided resources to meet our border security challenges, including a wall system.”

Senator John Hoeven is an establishment Republicans straight from the GOP’s big business cheap labor caucus. Some will recall Hoeven was one of the authors of the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the hated Gang of Eight amnesty bill led by Senators Marco Rubio and the late John McCain. Among the many defects of the Corker-Hoeven amendment was to change current law to maximize the number of illegal aliens eligible for green cards and eventual citizenship.

Current law states that those applying for green cards are ineligible if they are either "illegally present" at any point or overstay the terms of their work visa. Such an immigrant, in current law, would have to return to their home country and restart the immigration process. The Corker-Hoeven amendment would have wiped away that enforcement mechanism.

Hoeven did mention a wall in his statement released upon his appointment to the Conference Committee, so he may have come around on that part of border security.

Senator Roy Blunt’s pre-hearing statement was more focused on criticizing the shutdown as “bad politics and even worse government” than it was on securing funding for the Wall.

The Democrat side of the Conference Committee included many vocal Trump critics and die-hard opponents of the Wall, there are no Republicans on the Committee with a similar commitment for the Wall.

To be fair – all the Republicans on the Conference Committee have, at one time or another, voted for funding the Wall, but as of press time we couldn’t find one Republican on the Conference Committee who came out fighting for the Wall, and that’s what it is going to take to break the gridlock and get the Wall funded and built.

President Trump may be on to the Republicans’ lack of fire in the belly for the Wall when he panned the deal yesterday during a cabinet meeting and said, “I’m adding things to it.”

It is clear to us where the problem lies in getting the Wall funded and built – with Capitol Hill Republicans where it has always been.

We urge CHQ readers and friends to have faith in President Trump’s commitment to building the wall. Call the Senators and Representatives on the Conference Committee TODAY. The toll-free Capitol Switchboard is (1-866-220-0044) tell them 55 miles of wall after all this trouble is not a deal it’s a cave-in. Tell them you support President Trump’s call for a wall on our southern border and if Congress remains in political gridlock you agree the President should use his Article II constitutional authority to declare a national emergency and have the Pentagon build the wall and other needed security enhancements on our southern border.

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