Issue Report ● 2019 Budget
For Immediate Release: 
December 19, 2018
Five of the 12 annual appropriations bills have already been signed into law after months of negotiations and bipartisan compromise. Six of the seven remaining bills are nearly ready and are just waiting for a vote, which would result in 97% of U.S. government agencies being funded with bipartisan approval. This bipartisan consensus is being held hostage, days before another shutdown deadline, so that President Trump can continue to demand his costly, ineffective, and unpopular border wall.

Here’s a look at how the American people are reacting to President Trump’s partisan brinksmanship:

An NPR poll shows a strong majority of Americans believe the President should compromise and avoid a shutdown:
  • 57% Americans think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown;
  • 69% of Americans do not believe building a wall should even be an immediate priority for Congress, including 50% who do not believe [the border wall] should be a priority at all.
In addition, Morning Consult/Politico, which registers public opinion on the question each time the President threatens to shut down government, continues to find the threat unpopular with a majority of Americans:
  • 55% of registered voters say increased wall funding isn’t worth a shutdown.
  • In the latest poll, just 26% of voters called funding the border wall a “top priority” – the lowest among the 10 options tested.
Earlier this year, the House and Senate came to agreement, passed, and saw signed into law five of the 12 appropriations bills funding three-fourths of the government, including funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, and Veterans Affairs. Six of the remaining seven appropriations bills are all but locked in, leaving President Trump’s insistence on his costly border wall as virtually the only outstanding issue to resolve:
“The other six spending bills are largely resolved, but some disagreements remain and await resolution by leadership. Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said there are ‘very few’ outstanding issues in the remaining spending bills. If an agreement is reached on the border, lawmakers ‘could wrap this up in no time,” he said.” [Roll Call, 12/10/18]

“Negotiations on the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations and Transportation-HUD bills are mostly complete and those bills could likely receive the support needed to pass the House and Senate before the stopgap spending bill…” [CQ, 11/28/18]

“Some of the biggest agencies, including the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, already have their funding, so only 25 percent of the remaining discretionary spending for fiscal 2019 would be affected by a shutdown…” [Roll Call, 12/17/18]

Approving those six appropriations bills alongside a year-long continuing resolution for the Department of Homeland Security is also gaining traction among Republicans:
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-AL): “Shelby said he would support a temporary stopgap spending bill for Homeland Security, packaged with the other six full-year bills, if the border wall remains the one outstanding issue… ‘I think the dynamic and linchpin and everything is the money for the border wall…’” [CQ, 11/26/18]

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Republican Whip: “Well, you don't have to convince me…” [CQ, 12/12/18]

Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “Murkowski isn't on board with $5 billion for the wall. She said Wednesday that the Senate's allocation was ample and ‘addresses so many of the issues that we have with border security.’” [CQ, 11/28/18]

Sen. John Boozman, (R-AR), senior Appropriations Committee member: “I’d like to pass the six bills and CR on Homeland… It’s easy to shut down the government, it’s difficult to open it up and maintain what you were trying to get done in a shutdown in the first place.” [CQ, 12/12/18]

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL): “Depend [sic] on what's in it obviously. I mean everything has limits… But my inclination is that I want us to fund government and move forward on other issues, and continue to debate the disagreements that we might have at a different time.” [CQ, 12/12/18]

Democrats and Republicans have come to bipartisan agreements on 11 of the 12 appropriations measures to responsibly fund the government. It is irresponsible for President Trump to continue threatening to shut down a large portion of the government, during the holidays, over the single issue of his ineffective, costly border wall.

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