One of the cornerstones of President Trump's campaign was the promise to build a border wall. It is necessary for the safety and security of our citizens. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, tons of narcotics, and millions in illicit cash flow across the sparsely protected border each day. However, many in Congress don't see the need to protect the American people, chief among them, GOP leadership. There are no reasons to not build the promised border wall.
The border wall is only expected to cost $21.6 billion to build and around $150 million a year to maintain. When you consider the ongoing heroin epidemic alone cost the U.S. $50 billion a year, not counting the billions spent on social services, it seems like a small one-time capital investment that will pay for itself in a few short years.
In case anyone says the wall will not work, just look at the evidence. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden all supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The legislation mandated construction of secure fencing along the border and the Yuma sector of Arizona was one of the first areas to receive the funds for a fence. The fence worked, and illegal immigration has subsided by 90 percent in the Yuma sector. A 90 on any test is an A.
Not only is the wall affordable, it's a promise that can actually be kept by Congress, which is a rarity. On Jan. 27, 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) told the American people that, "This is something, [the wall], we want to get on right away. And so we do believe this is urgent. We believe this is one of the most important promises the President made running for office. It's a promise he's going to keep and it's a promise we're going to help him keep."
Speaker Ryan already delayed funding the wall in April budget fight, with a promise to fund it in September stating, "The big chunk of money for the wall really is next year's - next fiscal year's appropriations because they literally can't start construction even this quickly."
However, Ryan has already backtracked on that pledge by signaling he is scared of a government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) beat the Speaker to the surrender flag stating, "Let me say it again, no more government shutdowns", in early August.
The only solution is for Trump, Ryan, and McConnell to stand shoulder to shoulder and tell the obstructionists Democrats to pound sand. The Republicans should not be waving the white flag for fear of a government shutdown.
The trio must understand a government shutdown is not the worst thing. The government doesn't actually shut down. During the 2013 shut down only 17 percent of the federal workforce was sent home. The military will still defend, federal law enforcement will still enforce the law, and social security checks will still be put in the mail.
The President also has the ability to designate services or employees as "essential". Any lawyers at the EPA writing job killing regulations, send home and keep the mine inspector. The DOE employee granting millions to toxic solar farms and bird killing wind farms does not sound like an essential employee, but those monitoring the nuclear stockpile do. The government shuts down every weekend for 48 hours, and the world still turns.
If Republicans fail to fund the promised wall it would show Republicans are a majority party in name only. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the real Speaker of the House, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is the real Majority Leader. Pelosi already acts like the Speaker recently taunted Republicans stating, "In appropriations, we've won every fight."
Optics will not work this time. Just voting to fund the wall in the initial House bill, then removing the funding in the conference committee will not cut it. The American people are paying attention, and now know how the game is played. Anything less than full funding for the border wall will result in a lively primary season.