Just as the country is getting over its most recent government shutdown several years ago, it looks like another one could be happening. Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney has been urging congressional Republicans to take a hard line against “sanctuary cities” in a must-pass spending bill. According to Republicans, the goal of the bill is to bring House Freedom Caucus on board with a government funding bill, or at least show that the administration is courting the support of the right.
Yet Mulvaney’s efforts threaten to disrupt bipartisan negotiations on funding the government; Democrats are already saying that a request for border wall money would shut down the government. Attempts to block liberal cities from receiving federal funds for ignoring immigration guidance would yield a similar outcome. The budget will need Democratic votes to pass, so this would be a major obstacle to a bipartisan deal.
Inter-party talks have already been pretty tricky; Schumer had made it clear that the Democratic caucus won’t support Trump’s $1.4 billion for a border wall and security in the spending bill. Schumer and Mitch McConnell have, however, been making significant progress, although Mulvaney’s move could serve as a big obstacle to this. However, both McConnell and Paul Ryan have vowed there won’t be a shutdown, and both senior Republicans as well as members of the Appropriations Committee have been trying to keep Mulvaney’s proposal out of the bill. There’s concern that Senate Democrats will filibuster any bill with Mulvaney’s proposals, which would put Washington on a path towards a shutdown.
In the aftermath of their failed effort to replace and repeal Obamacare, another high-profile failure could be a big problem for the GOP, and a government shutdown could be a disaster. According to one Senate Democratic aide, either border-wall funding or the sanctuary cities crackdown could tank bipartisan efforts.