Senate Democrats are apparently pushing ahead with their proposal to cripple President Donald Trump’s presidency by blocking his campaign promise to build a secure border wall between the United States and Mexico’s drug runners, criminals and illegal immigrants.
The threat, leaked in early March, was made clear in a letter from Democratic leaders in the Senate, who said they were “concerned with reports that there may be an effort to include funding for a very expensive border wall” in a special budget planned for early 2017.
“We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration,” said the letter, which was signed by the Democrats’ Senate leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and other Democratic leaders, including Democrat Sens. Dick Durbin, Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Patrick Leahy.
The letter was shared with a variety of media outlets before it was sent to the GOP leaders, including Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnnell. The letter also sought to protect other progressive priorities from Trump’s budget cutting and policy changes, by saying Democrats would oppose any funding changes that would:
roll back protections for our veterans, environment, consumers, and workers and prohibit funds for critical healthcare services for women through Planned Parenthood. We strongly oppose the inclusion of such riders in any of the must-pass appropriations bills that fund the government.
The Democrats have some leverage over the GOP in the Senate because they can block legislation unless eight of the 48 Democratic Senators vote with the GOP to end a debate and schedule voting on a pending bill. In turn, the GOP has enormous leverage on Democrats, because they can blame the Democrats for blocking a federal budget and for obstructing an elected president.