You Win Some And You Lose Some

Grind for December 21st, 2018
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

– Maya Angelou


The Headline

Trump flip-flops on border wall demands; Congress considers stopgap bill

The Grind

President Trump on Wednesday vowed to get his border wall built “one way or the other” following Democratic lawmakers refusal to provide him with $5 billion in funding.

Earlier this month, Trump threatened to shut down the government if Congress didn’t include $5 billion for border security in its year-end spending bill.

On Tuesday, he backed down from his demand and Republicans proposed a bill including $1.6 billion for border fencing and $1 billion for other immigration-related matters.

Democrats rejected the proposal.

The Details

Lawmakers are now scrambling to finish a spending bill for FY2019. Failure to pass the bill by midnight on Friday will result in a partial government shutdown.

“There’s certainly bipartisan support for avoiding a shutdown,” noted Senator Mitch McConnell, who this week introduced a continuing resolution that would keep federal agencies up and running until February 8th.

“We need the government to remain open for the American people,” he added, vowing not to end 2018 how it began: “With another government shutdown because of Democrats’ allergy to sensible policies.”

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said they would support McConnell’s continuing resolution.

If it passes, the short-term bill will be another reminder of Trump’s ongoing failure to secure funding for one of his key campaign promises: to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

The Takeaway

Trump is clearly determined to get his wall built, but he knows that another shutdown – especially during the holidays – won’t help him during his re-election campaign. He’s also realizing that he doesn’t have much support from GOP lawmakers for wall funding at the $5 billion level.

In the meantime, Democrats seem willing to provide ample funding for border security (but not wall construction) in FY2019 and Trump seems convinced he can get money for his wall elsewhere.

“There’s certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use to couple with the money that would be given to us through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump has also suggested that Mexico will end up paying (indirectly) for the wall through the newly-negotiated USMCA and has directed all Cabinet departments to look for money that could be legally redirected towards the wall.

Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due

The Headline

In Trump economy, fewer Americans depend on food stamps

The Grind

The number of Americans to enroll in SNAP (food stamps) over the past year has declined in all but three states.

Some declines were more dramatic than others:

— In Texas, enrollment dropped by 32%

— In North Carolina, enrollment dropped by 19%

— In Alaska, enrollment dropped by 15%

According to the USDA, the number of Americans collecting benefits through SNAP has dropped by more than 3.5 million since Trump took office.

The Implication

The decline in SNAP enrollment has been attributed not only to the improving economy, but also to the Trump Administration’s efforts to reform welfare programs.

Other factors include a yet-to-be implemented policy which blocks immigrants from obtaining permanent status if they are collecting SNAP benefits and a high demand for workers – which means higher wages and more opportunities for people of all education levels.

Did you know… The world’s termites outweigh the world’s humans 10 to 1