On Friday President Donald Trump agreed to sign stopgap legislation to reopen shuttered portions of the federal government for 21 days, acceding to Democrats’ demands that before they agreed to negotiate on his request for border wall funding, the government would have to be fully functional.
Throughout the historically long shutdown, Democrats made various excuses for not supporting the president’s border wall funding request which, at $5.7 billion out of a total federal budget outlay of some $4.4 trillion was little more than a rounding error.
The most notable excuse came from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who claimed that border walls are “immoral” — despite that fact that she’s supported funding border barriers along the U.S.-Mexico boundary in the past and despite the fact that some 600-plus miles of border fencing and walls already exist.
But what makes her excuse even more hypocritical is the fact that two years ago she and fellow Democrats supported sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Mexico so that country could secureÂ its border…with Guatemala.
The Rio Grande Guardian, on May 5, 2016, reported that Pelosi “led a bipartisan delegation of legislators to Mexico” to discuss various issues including enhancing security along Mexico’s southern border.
The news site even quoted Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) as saying:
Can I add: This last Congress, in December, we appropriated $750 [million] to help the Northern Triangle countries. Some are going to say to make sure it goes out as fast as possible, but itâ€™s $750 million dollars to address the issues â€“ the core issues that we have.
In the past, we also have appropriated money to help Mexico secure its southern border with Guatemala. And again, I think, the message here is we have got to look at it as a regional perspective.Â We also have been to Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, even Costa Rica with the Cubanos that are coming in largely through Laredo. So what weâ€™re doing is â€“ we want to look at this as a regional approach, work with Mexico and Central America to address these security issues and migration issues.
That’s not all. Recall that in December, one of then-Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) last official acts was to shepard through an appropriations bill that sent $4.8 billion in aid to Mexico as part of an overall $10.6 billion package for Central America, but didn’t appropriate a single penny to fund the president’s border wall request.
The Associated Press reported:
The United States pledged $5.8 billion in aid Tuesday for strengthening government and economic development in Central America, and another $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico.
The U.S aid aims to promote better security conditions and job opportunities as part of a regional plan to allow Central Americans to remain in their countries and not have to emigrate.
The president signed that legislation under the belief that he would eventually get funding for new walls and barriers for the United States. He didn’t, and that’s what led to the just-ended shutdown.
It’s hard to know what is more frustrating — the fact that our Congress continues to appropriate funds to other countries so they can enhance their border security, or the fact that these countries are taking American taxpayer funds and doingÂ not using them for the purpose that money was given. After all, how many migrant caravans has Mexico allowed to cross into its territory from Guatemala in just the past year?
Pelosi and House Democrats have less than 21 days to “negotiate” a longer-term spending bill that will keep all of the federal government open and provide the president with the border wall funds he’s been requesting. We’re not at all optimistic that Democrats are going to give this president one thin dime for that purpose.
Which means he’s going to have to make good on his pledge to secure funding by declaring a national emergency. The Democrats will complain but they will have left him no choice.
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