The Democrats are finding themselves in a tight position as they can’t refuse making a deal with U.S. President Donald Trump, which has turned into a situation that could fracture the caucus between progressives and moderates.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are readying to reject President Trump’s requests for additional money for the wall this month as payback for the president’s stringent immigration policies—a position that contrasts to the billions of dollars that Democrats have handed over for border fencing and security since the start of President Trump’s term, according to half a dozen lawmakers and aides, Politico reports.
“I don’t think that people are cruising for a bruising this September. I get the impression that people are trying to work things out,” said Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) “I suppose we’re at a time where anything can happen. But I don’t see or hear reason to think there’s a blowup in September.”
Democrats are challenging president Trump on the wall and immigration since the funding fight is exposing divides within the Democratic party, and those tensions risk complicating Democrats’ endeavors to complete their packed fall agenda.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) has made it clear that the border wall is well under way.
“Replacing a fence with a 30-foot structure covered in double razor wire and topped with floodlights qualifies as new construction no matter where it happens,” tweeted Grijalva. “This is not a time to tell ourselves that Trump is losing. This is being built as we speak.”
Grijalva also made it clear why attempts by mainstream media to downplay president Trump’s border wall construction are “dangerous.”
“The idea that this doesn’t count as ‘new wall,’ and therefore there’s nothing to see here, is dangerous and leads to complacency,” said Grijalva. “Thumbing our noses at Trump is no substitute for on-the-ground reporting.”
“The press is falsely claiming that ‘No new border wall has been built.’ Very inaccurate and irresponsible reporting. See @RepRaulGrijalva tweet thread about this. 30’ wall is being [built] as I write this.” Myles Traphagen tweeted.
“The conversation about the wall has to be about stopping it and making sure Trump and his successors don’t expand it,” said Grijalva. “They want this to grow beyond public control. Treating the wall as just a chance to be clever at Trump’s expense is irresponsible.”
For many moderates, this may be the last opportunity to wrap up negotiations on a trade pact with Mexico and Canada. As for progressives, there will be a hard push to advance impeachment proceedings before the start of the election year—a move that a majority of House Democrats now support, according to Politico.
However, immigration could be the focus of the caucus’ energy ahead of the Sept. 30 funding deadline. President Trump’s wall is also expected to be an obstacle in a separate defense policy bill that must be passed this fall.
Democrats have also recognized that it is difficult to take a hard line against Trump without allowing government funding to lapse.
“I think after everything that’s happened, there’s going to be a lot more interest in taking a more dramatic step,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) while referring to funding of contentious agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We need to stand firm on this. I am certainly going to urge my leadership to stay at $0 and I hope we stay at $0,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a member of the House spending committee.