As of today, the president is no longer “all in” on border wall spending, and reverses in his calls for $5 billion to build his wall indicate that some of his earlier positions may have all been bluster.
However, we’re not much further from the prospect of a government shutdown as Democratic leaders have rejected the Republicans’ newest compromise financially.
Washington Post reports today that the president is now only asking for $1.6 billion for homeland security spending, as well as $1 billion in “reprogrammed funds.”
Republicans have even pledged not to use that $1 billion for a border wall.
That wasn’t good enough for Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, as Pelosi pointed out in public remarks today:
“Leader Schumer and I have said that we cannot support the offer they made of a billion-dollar slush fund for the president to implement his very wrong immigration policies,” Pelosi told the Washington Post. “So that won’t happen.”
Mitch McConnell is calling the Republican offer “reasonable,” and its rejection, by that logic, unreasonable.
Meanwhile, the president seems to be implicitly walking back his previous statement last week that he would be “proud” to shut down the government to get the border wall funding.
Through White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, the White House is indicating it does not want to shut down the government, and is confident there are other ways to get the border funding.
“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion,” Sanders said on Fox News, according to Washington Post reporters. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border … There are certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use, that we can couple with money that would be given through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border.”
Let’s look at how this is affecting markets this week – the S&P 500 is again down bumping against 2,550 from an opening at 2,560. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down some 2/10 of a percent daily and down more than 100 points over the week. It’s also a month low and a six-month low, as well as a year-to-year low that is now getting deeper – for reference, around this time last year, the DJIA stood at 25,000, while in today’s trading, as of press time, it stands right around 23,600.
Economists have said that today’s government shutdowns don’t pack as much of a punch as they did years ago – but we’ll see how these important markets react as we get closer to the end of this game of chicken and federal agency workers Christmas pay hangs in the balance.