Americans on Edge Over Budget Battle for Border Wall Billions

border wallPresident Donald Trump is holding the American people hostage while he demands billions of dollars for a border wall that 48 percent of registered voters polled believe is “a bad idea.” The controversy leaves Americans concerned about another partial government shutdown.

The Democrats, Republicans, and President Trump must come to an agreement about the funding for the border wall by the deadline of Feb. 15, 2019. The temporary budget in place expires in 12 days and no resolution on the wall will prompt a shutdown.

After 35-day partial shutdown officially ended on January 25, Congress agreed to work on a proposal that would appease the president. In typical Trump fashion, during the Rose Garden press conference announcing the government was reopened, he told reporters he had no compunction against another shutdown if his stipulations are not met.

Unfortunately for Americans, there is a strong partisan divide when it comes to allocating funds for the border wall. Moreover, there seems to be a disagreement over whether or not the country needs increased border control.

During a community meeting in Portland, Oregon, the topic of discussion was border safety. Generally,  people agreed there is a need for stronger border control, but like the politicians, no one had a clear picture of what that would look like. Several pointed out they did not know what to believe because of exaggerated news and party line sensationalism that is designed to confuse the masses.

Of course, the proverb found in Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall,” came up; “good fences make good neighbors.” Here is where an argument began. Border wall proponents claimed fences are sensible. They keep people and property safe. Eventually, the nay-sayers come around and grudgingly agree to this point.

Then the conversation moves to the cost of President Trump’s pet project. Not one person in the room believes the wall is anything but a money pit. They have reason to be concerned since the president cannot keep his story about the construction costs straight. He has not mentioned the additional money required for maintenance in once it is built. Someone declared, “That will be more pork in future bills that we will be stuck with. Remember that!”

During his campaign, Trump stated the wall would “only cost $12 billion.” But, he proclaimed Mexico would finance the border wall. Trump’s pricing estimation varies from speech to speech. Between January and December 2018, construction costs were touted as $15, $18, and $25 billion. Currently, he is willing to settle for $5.7 billion.

Congress has yet to find a bipartisan compromise that will pacify the president. The federal government was shut down three times last year. Trump says he is not beyond beginning another closure on Feb. 16, 2019.

More alarming, he seems focused on the idea of declaring a State of Emergency to fund the wall. It is almost as if Trump wants Congress to fail. It is the political norm for opposition attacks but turning on one’s own side is not. Among Trump’s criticism of Nancy Pelosi Twitter post are those that display the total lack of faith.  He believes the Republican members of Congress are “wasting their time” trying to negotiate with Democrats.

Americans are uneasy leaving the federal debt for their grandchildren without adding additional monies to finance a seemingly impractical project. However, Trump insists he will not sign any budget proposal that does not include funding for his border wall.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

Psychology Today: Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?
USA Today: Trump signs measure to temporarily reopen government, setting up new battle over border wall
The Washington Post: What do Americans think about the wall? The answer would surprise you if you read Drudge.
English.illinois.edu: “The Ordeal of Robert Frost: The Poet and His Poetics.” Copyright © 1997 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Chris Beckett’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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