President Donald Trump is trying to get full funding for his border wall — and in the process avert a partial government shutdown — but he is running out of time, and his own party is bogging down the process.
According to a Sunday New York Times report, a group of retiring House Republicans have been skipping votes — and work in general — since the November midterms concluded.
President Trump vowed last week that he would “own” a possible government shutdown in an effort to secure funding for a wall on the country’s southern border.
“I will take the mantle,” Trump said during a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
But in the days since that meeting, Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for refusing to support funding for the wall — even as his own party has acted inadvertently to stymie efforts and slow the process.
Without the many retiring Republicans who are shirking their duties, which the Times reported to be "anywhere from a handful to more than two dozen" on various bills, Trump might not have enough votes even if he agrees to a deal that would avoid a shutdown.
Right now, Republican leadership is unsure whether they can get it done.
“No one has any idea what the play call is — we don’t know what’s going on,” said retiring Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA). “You don’t have an office. You’re in wind-down mode, saying goodbye to people and wrapping up, and just putting your voting card in the machine and pressing red or green. It’s going through the motions.”
“That’s me with my hands up in the air,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the second-highest ranking member of the Senate leadership, told reporters with a shrug last week. “There is no discernible plan — none that’s been disclosed.”
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) seemed perplexed by her colleagues’ behavior, telling the Times: “I don’t understand why people don’t come to work and work all the way through December when the taxpayers are paying them. I mean, finish your job.”