It’s obvious to even the most casual political observer: the current federal shutdown is about politics. During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump promised a wall. If no wall is built (or construction started) by 2020, then he’ll lose reelection in a landslide. Hence why the Democrats are unwilling to concede and end the shutdown.
Here’s the thing, everyone can agree that the shutdown needs to end – along with the unintended consequences to federal workers, their families, and small businesses across the United States.
Unfortunately, today’s political climate offers no incentive for Democrats to compromise. Any Democrat who votes for border wall funding will be Primaried. But there is a solution… a “Trump Card” if you will: a dollar-for-dollar appropriation.
Congress should pass legislation appropriating $5.7B (or more) for wall construction in exchange for an equal appropriation to make life easier, and the process simpler, for asylum seekers. Why is the Trump Administration guaranteed to agree?
Many forget President Trump’s other campaign promise: that he wants the wall to have a “big, beautiful door.” Remember this interview with Jimmy Kimmel in 2015:
The catch is, the Administration must cede sole oversight authority for the latter appropriation to the Democrats. I would suggest establishing an Asylum Trust Fund to support “pay for results” grants (a.k.a. Social Impact Bonds), but it won’t be up to me or anyone in any federal agency for that matter. Democratic leaders would appoint trustees to manage the resources in ways that would, for example, improve existing ports of entry, build new ports, and add staff and accommodations capable of managing the inevitable influx of asylum seekers we can expect and should welcome to our Southern border. If Democrats need more money, then an equal amount is appropriated to President Trump’s construction efforts and/or enforcement measures.
All I’m saying is that a “win-win” outcome is possible, but it requires everyone to take a step-back and exchange what is political for something that is practical.