Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) didn’t pull any punches in his warning to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) against shutting down the government again.
Republicans must work with Senate Democrats to approve the final appropriations bills for the upcoming year. Although most of the government has already been funded, Congress still has to approve a few final appropriations bills, including one related to border security.
Because these are spending bills that are not tax-neutral, Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to pass the bill.
As IJR previously reported, President Donald Trump said that he would be “proud” to shut down the government if it meant that the border would be secure. Schumer, on the other hand, doesn’t want to increase wall funding.
In fact, he referred to the president’s shutdown ultimatum as a “temper tantrum,” as noted by IJR Blue.
Although Schumer may just think that Trump is having a “tantrum,” Republicans know that they have Schumer in an awkward position. The last time Schumer shut down the government, it lasted three days and Democrats got steamrolled.
President Trump called Schumer out for this during their White House meeting, saying, “You don’t want to shut down the government because the last time you shut it down, you got killed.”
Republicans, including Majority Whip Scalise, are sticking to that script. During an interview with Fox News, Scalise reiterated the president’s message to Schumer.
“I think you saw Chuck Schumer having another one of his tantrums. You know, there was a Schumer shutdown not too long ago and he didn’t fare too well from that. And he won’t fare too well here again. He’s saying he wants to deny the president the ability to build the wall. The president ran on securing America’s border. This fight is about securing America’s border, not just the wall.”
Scalise noted that migration isn’t the only problem that needs to be addressed at the southern border, as there is also a problem with drug trafficking and human trafficking.
It isn’t yet clear if either side will fold to the pressure. The final appropriations bills must be voted on by the end of the day Friday to avoid the shutdown.
Correction [12/18/18, 2:51 p.m. ET]: Previously, this story inaccurately labeled Schumer as the Senate majority leader. We have corrected the error.