Trump’s Latest Temper Tantrum and the Showdown over the Wall

The Latest

Trump and Mitch McConnell refuse to let their hostages go. Donald Trump continues to hold 800,000 federal employees hostage, and refuses to let them go unless Congress gives him nearly $6 billion for his wall—but he’s losing. Out of desperation, he’s made a phony offer to Democrats, demanding that they give him money for his wall, close access to asylum to children, and fund more detention camps at the border in return for minimal and temporary protections for DACA recipients. Trump knows that public opinion is against him, yet his response is to make even more extreme demands. Congress could force his hand if it would just send a clean spending bill to his desk. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to act on the legislation his chamber passed unanimously in December.

The urgency to keep up the pressure on our Senators only gets higher the longer this shutdown drags on. It’s Congress’s responsibility to fund the government, a responsibility that McConnell is now abdicating. Slowly but surely, more Senators in McConnell’s Republican caucus are coming out to say the Senate should vote to end the shutdown. We need to make sure that drumbeat continues, and that Democrats keep staying strong until the Republican dam breaks, forcing McConnell to put the House legislation to a vote.

The ask for Democratic Senators: Keep strong. Don’t make a deal with Trump that provides any wall funding. Continue to oppose legislation unrelated to the shutdown.

The ask for Republican Senators: Make a public statement pressuring Mitch McConnell to put the House-passed legislation to a vote in the Senate. (It’s not enough to say they “think the shutdown should end.”)

What you can do now

It’s more critical than ever that local Indivisible groups across the country take action to ask their Senators to end the shutdown.

The most important thing your group can be doing right now is pressuring your Senators to end this shutdown. The longer this goes on, the more crucial your continued accountability becomes.

On Wednesday, January 23rd we’ll be taking national coordinated action across the country with a National Call Day—join in by calling 844-236-2373 (and then post a picture of your call!).

Office visits. As always, in-person actions are the most impactful way to pressure your MoCs. When you’re there, ask Democratic Senators to continue opposing any legislation unrelated to the shutdown and resist any deal with Trump providing funding for the wall. Ask Republican Senators to publicly pressure Mitch McConnell to put the House-passed legislation to a vote in the Senate. And if there are town halls on the weekend (or if Senate Recess still happens), folks should also go to those as well! Share your event photos and videos with us on Twitter @IndivisibleTeam and use the hashtag #TrumpShutdown so we can help amplify.

Phone calls. Keep up the pressure by making consistent phone calls using the script below. It’s even better if you can coordinate specific days that your whole group will make phone calls. And we’ll be having a National Call Day on Wednesday, January 23rd! Make a plan to make some calls to your Senator on the 23rd along with Indivisibles across the country—and don’t forget to share a picture or video of your call on social media. When you call, ask Democratic Senators to continue opposing any legislation unrelated to the shutdown and resist any deal with Trump providing funding for the wall. Ask Republican Senators to publicly pressure Mitch McConnell to put the House-passed legislation to a vote in the Senate.

Support federal workers. In addition to the above tactics, another way to help during the shutdown is support federal workers. Whether through food drives, lending a hand to folks in your community, etc., there are a variety of ways to take support these workers during the shutdown. While this may not be directly pressuring your Senator, it’s important to continuing showing up for folks who are struggling because of Trump’s shutdown.

Refresher: Why is this happening?

Funding for a large part of the government expired on December 21, and Trump shut down the government because he didn't get money for his wall. Trump is throwing a temper tantrum, demanding $5 billion in funding from Congress for his unnecessary, xenophobic border wall—and to try to get his way, he is threatening to veto legislation from Congress that would keep the government running. This is a crisis entirely of Trump’s own making. Democrats, and most Republicans, didn’t want to shut down the government over Trump’s wall, especially after voters resoundingly rejected Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda in the 2018 midterms.

So far, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are standing strong against him, which is exactly what they should be doing. In a meeting with Trump on Dec. 11, they told him that they would not agree to any new money for Trump’s wall, detention beds, or border agents.

Trump shut down part of the government. Large parts of the government have already been funded through September 30, 2019. That’s because earlier this year, Congress passed a handful of bills that funded the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs, Energy, and a few other parts of the government. But a large slice of the government—including the Department of Homeland Security, where funding for the wall would live—has not yet been funded. 

This fight all comes down to the wall. Both House and Senate Democrats rightfully do not want to give Trump any more money for the wall. Last year’s funding bill had $1.3 billion for border “fencing,” and DHS hasn’t even spent that yet. (It’s also important to note that while Members of Congress will distinguish between fencing and wall construction, the distinction is meaningless to border communities who will have to live with it.) Nevertheless, Trump has dug in his heels for more, saying that he won’t sign any bill on his desk unless it has an extra $5 billion for the wall.

The House passed a “clean" continuing resolution (“CR”). The Democratic position is that they will only accept a “clean" CR, which means no new money for wall construction of any kind, and no new money for border agents or detention beds. This is the right stance for them to take—and it is consistent with the position of most national immigration groups.

Earlier this year, Democrats in the Senate had agreed to $1.6 billion in new money for wall construction. This was never a good deal, but since that time, circumstances have changed. The Blue Wave swept the country, and it represented a strong rebuke of Trump’s hateful immigration policies. Democrats must hold strong to their demand for a clean CR, which would strip out this proposed new money.

What the “CR” means and what happens next

Does a CR mean no money for the wall or immigration enforcement? Unfortunately, no. A continuing resolution extends existing funding levels, which means that all the awful things that are currently funded get funded again for another year. DHS will get the same amount of money it got last year, and it will use it to terrorize immigrants at the border and in our communities. And because last year’s funding bill contained $1.3 billion for wall construction, DHS will get another $1.3 billion this year for wall construction. What we’re fighting for now is to stop Republicans from adding even more money for wall or immigration enforcement.

Then why support a clean CR? Trump is demanding $5 billion in new funding for his wall. Maintaining the current funding levels would keep the situation from getting any worse and would represent a major loss for Trump, whether he admits it or not.

In order to stop all wall construction, Republicans and Trump would have to agree to cuts, which is a steep hill to climb while they still control the White House and Senate. But remember: Democrats have control of the House, which means we have leverage to begin to try to dismantle Trump's deportation machine in the next fiscal year.

Call Your Senators

Tell your Senators to oppose all legislation in the Senate until the government is reopened.

Call Now!

Call Script for Democratic Senators

Hello! My name is ___ and I’m calling from (part of state). I’m calling to thank [Senator] for standing strong against Trump’s demands for wall funding and ask him/her to oppose any legislation in the Senate until the government is re-opened.

The Senate—including [Senator]—unanimously passed a clean budget that would keep the government open until February. There are 800,000 federal workers going without pay. National parks are filling up with trash. This is unacceptable, and [Senator] needs to force Mitch McConnell to put legislation reopening the government on the floor by opposing all other legislation.

Will [Senator] continue to vote “no” on all legislation until the government has reopened?

Call Script for Republican Senators

Hello! My name is ___ and I’m calling from (part of state). I’m calling to ask [Senator] to make a public statement pressuring Mitch McConnell to put the House legislation to a vote in the Senate.

It’s not enough to say the Senator thinks the shutdown should end. This shutdown was caused by Donald Trump, and Mitch McConnell is prolonging it by refusing to let the Senate vote on the House legislation. We need [Senator] to pressure him to put it to a vote.

Will [Senator] commit to making a public statement asking Mitch McConnell to put the House legislation to a vote?