February 4, 2017

I'm not going to get too excited yet, but this could be good news:

President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico is facing a major problem: A wall of resistance from his own party.

... Interviews with more than a dozen GOP lawmakers across the ideological spectrum suggest Trump could have a difficult time getting funding for his plan approved by Congress.

Many bluntly told CNN they'd likely vote against any Trump plan that is not fully offset with spending cuts, while others questioned whether Trump's vision would adequately resolve the problems at the border.

The skeptics include Texas senator John Cornyn.

"I have concerns about spending un-offset money, which adds to the debt, period," Cornyn said bluntly when asked about the wall. "I don't think we're just going to be able to solve border security with a physical barrier because people can come under, around it and through it."

Also quoted: Senators Lisa Murkowski and Bob Corker, as well as John McCain and Oklahoma's James Lankford, who think it's naive to expect Mexico to reimburse the U.S. for the wall.

I've tended to agree with what Jonathan Chait wrote in November about GOP hypocrisy on deficits, which always seem to be America's #1 problem when a Democrat is in the White House and magically become insignificant as soon as a Republican takes over:

Republicans blew up the deficit under Ronald Reagan, then fomented hysterical warnings of insolvency under Bill Clinton. When Clinton’s policies structurally balanced the budget, they unbalanced it with massive tax cuts, a military and security buildup, and a prescription drug benefit, all entirely debt-financed. When the first signs of recession appeared in early 2008, Republicans did support a Keynesian stimulus bill. As Obama entered office, the seeming mild recession that had spurred both parties to action a year before had spiraled into a bottomless crisis unlike any in memory. But at the moment the justification for Keynesian stimulus had become stronger than at any time in the previous 80 years, Republicans embraced austerity, insisting temporary deficit spending would worsen the economy. They held to that stance -- with the exception of tax cuts for the rich, which they support regardless of circumstance -- throughout Obama’s presidency....

But I've been wondering whether the Tea Party movement changed the GOP -- some Tea Party members of Congress actually seem to believe the deficit talking points, and the rest might now fear that post-Tea conservative voters are likely to be upset about deficits under Republicans as well as Democrats. So maybe congressional Republicans will resist Trump on this.

Or maybe this story quotes the few who'll grumble before acquiescing, as Republicans generally do. Or offsets will be found, or the Trump administration will find deceptive ways to claim the wall is not a budget-buster (yadda yadda dynamic scoring yadda yadda), and these Republicans will calm down.

But perhaps the wall will be stopped by Republicans. Remember, Trump wants to start it right away. It could be that some congressional Republicans know what big government projects are like, and just don't want a controversial monstrosity that's beset by delays and cost overruns to be hanging over the party's head going into the 2018 midterms.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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