As the possibility of another shutdown looms, word from a special bipartisan committee of 14 lawmakers from both the House and the Senate formed to reach a deal on border security is optimistic. A final deal with the White House, committee members are reporting, is possible by the end of the weekend.
That’s the good news. The bad news, at least for Democrats, is that the negotiations will include funding for construction of a border wall or fencing. The “party of no” can try to put a happy face on the final agreement by noting that the amount agreed to is far shy of the $5.7 billion the Trump was seeking — possibly south of $2 billion.
But spending even a dime on 1 inch of wall is a loser for Democrats.
It didn’t have to be this way, but the party’s leaders in Congress chose early on to dig in, making their mantra “no wall at any cost.” Between the two of them, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer came up with an impressive number of dumb reasons why a wall shouldn’t be built. It‘s immoral, Pelosi claimed, without ever once explaining why. It’s “exorbitant,” said Schumer, who signed the 2006 Secure Fence Act, setting the stage for the construction of 640 miles of border fencing. Both insisted that fences don’t work, despite studies commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security that indicated otherwise.
Now as the committee draws close to a compromise that includes fencing, there is no way Pelosi and Schumer can emerge from this fiasco without looking defeated. Maybe Schumer, to paraphrase his arrogant scolding of Trump after the shutdown ended, will have “learned his lesson.”