Republicans and Democrats are currently bickering over a spending bill that would keep the federal government fully funded after December 21. But Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) says he's sure of "one thing." Namely, whatever deal the two sides agree on, it won't be good for the country.
Things came to a head earlier today when President Donald Trump held a televised Oval Office meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.). Trump is demanding that Congress allocate $5 billion for construction of his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. "I am proud to shut down the government for border security," Trump told Schumer at one point.
But Democrats are refusing to budge on the wall. A bipartisan proposal put forward in the Senate would set aside $1.6 billion for border security, none of which would go to the wall. Trump, however, claims, "you can't have border security without a wall."
"We do not want to shut down the government," Schumer told Trump. "We want to come to an agreement. If we don't come to an agreement, we have solutions that will pass the House and Senate right now and will not shut down the government. That's what we are urging you to do."
So will Republicans and Democrats reach an agreement in time to avoid a partial shuttering of the government? That's unclear for now. As Politico notes, neither side is particularly motivated to fold. Democrats likely have no interest in giving in to Trump, while Trump doesn't have much to lose from forcing a shutdown now that the midterm elections are in the rearview mirror.
At some point, of course, Republicans and Democrats will have to come to some sort of deal. But it won't be good for Americans, says Amash. "Whatever 'deal' they come to, you can count on one thing," the libertarian-leaning Republican tweeted today. "It will be bad for the American people—more wasteful spending, more cronyism, more unconstitutional programs, more commands from our acting overlords in Washington."
Earlier, the Michigan representative said he'd likely oppose the spending bill for reasons that include "too much spending and corporate welfare and corruption and thievery."
No. I'm sure I'll be against the spending bill for other reasons, like too much spending and corporate welfare and corruption and thievery.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) December 11, 2018
According to The Washington Times, there are actually seven spending bills that need to be approved by the December 21 deadline in order to avoid a partial shutdown. These bills would fund the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as the Departments of Justice, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, the latter of which is where Trump wants the border wall money to go.
For Amash, it's far from the first time he's called out a massive spending bill. In June, for instance, Amash was one of just three Republicans to vote against a $675 billion Department of Defense appropriations bill. Later, he called out his colleagues and noted that "whenever one party controls all of government, spending goes up like crazy." And in August, he blasted a "wasteful" and "pathetic" $853 billion spending bill that easily passed both houses of Congress. The majority of the money in that spending package—$600 billion—went to the Pentagon.
Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom