According to Fox News, some Members of Congress are already on Christmas vacation and don’t plan to return to Washington for votes.
Congress passed a two-week stop-gap spending bill this week, out of deference to the funeral for President George H.W. Bush, but also in part to delay the fight over the border wall.
As if the fight hasn’t been delayed enough. For the last two years Republicans controlled the House and couldn’t send the President a bill with the border wall in it.
Now Republicans can’t seem to pass a bill without it.
According to Fox News’ Chad Pergram, some Republicans are planning to be M.I.A. very, very soon:
“On avoiding a partial government shutdown before Dec 21. Border wall funding is a flashpoint,” Pergram tweeted Thursday, covering the deal mechanics. “Any plan needs 60 votes to overcome a Senate filibuster. That means there must be Democratic buy-in and ‘give’ by Republicans. But there are issues in the House, too.”
“It is generally believed that (House Republicans) lack the votes on their side to pass a bill with OR without the $5 billion in wall funding,” Pergram said. “Remember, the House this summer TWICE rejected bills which funded the wall. Democrats won’t help with this.”
He’s right. There’s no way Democrats help Republicans with wall funding. Republicans will have to be stronger and more unified on this front than ever for any chance at success.
That’s why what Pergram reported next is hard to believe:
“Fox is told quite a few House Republicans have no intention of coming back for further votes.”
“That could be a problem to pass a bill about the border wall,” Pergram added.
Yes, when your Members simply don’t report, yes, that is a problem—and that’s an understatement.
Of course, Members of Congress take extended leaves around the holidays, and that’s nothing new, but the border wall isn’t just some triviality to be ignored at whim. The wall is President Trump’s signature promise. The wall is arguably the most famous political campaign promise in modern history, save for perhaps one other: “Read my lips! No new taxes!”
We’re not talking about missing a vote on trivial tax extenders either. Funding for the wall is about something far more crucial: The literal security of the United States, one of our government’s most basic and important functions.
Where is GOP leadership, who should be assuring everyone that members will be present for votes? Where are the Republicans reminding voters that they truly understand how important the wall is and are doing everything they can to make it a reality?
That kind of conservative representation and leadership is sorely lacking in most of the current GOP—with a Republican president who rightly keeps wondering why his own party couldn’t get anything done.
Obviously, some of the Members who are never coming back either lost their races and are bitter or they retired and stop caring, but it’s flat out unacceptable to abdicate their responsibility and quit on the country.
Is the security of the country Republicans purport to represent not a top priority?
With the lack of points on the board, legislative affairs continue to be a weak link of the Trump Presidency. Whose fault that may be is irrelevant if the President looks at Capitol Hill and sees his own party not report for work, especially if those that stiff-arm their jobs suffer no political repercussions.
More to the political point: What reason do any of us have to vote Republican if they don’t even show up for critical votes? If some on the team can’t be bothered to take the field to close out the year, there is almost zero chance for conservative legislative success going forward. Sad, indeed.