As April saddles up to its midway mark, time is beginning to run out for the House of Representatives to determine a budget capable of keeping the federal government running for yet another year. Partially responsible for a stall are what Congressional Democrats have coined “poison pills” – provisions which would strip sanctuary cities of their federal funding, grab cash out from underneath Planned Parenthood, and set aside a pretty piggybank for a potential wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
House Speaker Paul Ryan isn’t backing down from a bipartisan challenge. At the end of March, he assured CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell that the federal government was in no danger of shutting down.
“Let me just say this, Norah. We’re not going to have a government shut-down,” said Ryan. “The president doesn’t want to have a government shutdown. It’s funding from April 28 to September 30.”
Careful to keep his word, Ryan and a host of other Congressional Conservatives have tried to keep talk about the border wall and the disownment of Planned Parenthood to a cool minimum. Some indications even suggest that the GOP is committed to keep money for both endeavors out of any possible appropriations bill.
However, trouble is brewing on the horizon.
The Freedom Caucus, responsible in part for the Republican failure to overhaul the Affordable Healthcare Act, is deadset on saving federal grants from dozens of “sanctuary cities” scattered across the country.
If Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, can have his way, residents of New York, Los Angeles, Dayton, and a dearth of cities across the States might lose funding for a host of programs. Educational opportunities, law enforcement stipends, and other necessities could be cut back for the refusal of some municipalities to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
Donald Trump signed an executive order back in January which pre-empted the crusade against sanctuary cities. While the action empowers “the attorney general and secretary of Homeland Security to take funding from sanctuary cities, […] it’s now cruising for a legal bruising in the courts,” according to Politico.
Democrats have already branded any attempt to fund a massive border wall as a “poison pill.” Mulvaney’s maneuvering to withhold billions of dollars in funding from sanctuary cities was deemed a “non-starter” by a spokesperson for Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
Regardless of what might happen, Mulvaney doesn’t seem too concerned by the outcome.
“If you measure it in terms of the dollars out the door, about 83 percent of the government stays open in a government shut-down,” said Mulvaney, who had voted in favor of the 2015 shut-down while still serving in Congress.
“Elections have consequences,” said Trump’s budget director. “The president needs to see his priorities funded.”