Wait, hasn’t Chuck Schumer already voted for a wall?

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This Jan. 18, 2018 photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an existing vehicle barrier near the Santa Teresa, N.M., port of entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo via AP)

Righty pundits and politicians have pointed out repeatedly that many of the very same Democrats who are currently saying ‘No Way, José’ on President Trump’s border wall have, in the past, voted for a border wall.

Those pundits and politicians are correct. On October 26, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The law called for “operational control” of the border. As set forth in the statute, “operational control” is defined as,

…the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”

The law calls for a number of measures, most notably 700 miles of double-layered fencing in five segments from Tecate, California to Brownsville, Texas.

The bill passed the Senate 80 to 19, with 26 Democrats – including current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and then-senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – voting “aye.”

So two questions arise. First, why, then, do we need another vote on a border wall? And second, if top Dems like Schumer voted for a physical barrier in 2006, what’s the problem in 2019?

The answers to both questions serve to reveal just how fetid the swamp really is.

First, why is another border wall vote necessary? Simple. What no one told you in 2006 was that the money to actually pay for the barrier was not a part of the bill. The money to pay for it was left to come from future appropriations. And when Republicans lost control of Congress in 2008 – concurrent with the election of Barack Obama – those appropriations never materialized.

Thus, to no one’s surprise, the project was never finished. Of the 652 miles where some form of barrier was built, only 36 miles consists of the double-layered fencing that is specified in the law. Nearly half of the 652 miles consists only of “vehicle fencing,” which is a euphemism for stand-alone waist high metal posts that can stop a car but won’t stop someone on foot.

Second, what’s Chuck Schumer’s objection now? Again, simple. There’s a real risk that this time the wall may actually happen. Unlike 2006, an election year in which Republicans simply wanted political credit for passing some sort of a border wall bill, Donald Trump wants to actually get a border wall built – just as he has promised. And this time, Donald Trump has leverage. He won’t sign an appropriations bill to re-open the part of the government that is on furlough unless there’s money in it for his wall.

The problem for Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi is that they’re still living in the world where regulation issue Republicans blink. Jeb Bush would have blinked by now. Ditto Mitt Romney. This is the longest government “shutdown” on record because regulation issue Republicans have always blinked.

The problem – and the real political risk – for Chuck and Nancy is that they still haven’t come to grips with the fact that Donald Trump is anything but regulation issue

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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14 Responses

  1. Buddy Saunders says:

    It is so nice to have a president that doesn’t blink. And with each passing day, it becomes clearer and clearer that Democrats don’t just oppose a wall, they oppose ANY form of border control that might dilute the Democrat vote. We have to remember, today’s illegal immigrant (Dems now call the “migrants”) are tomorrow’s illegal voters. Democrat leaders refused to meet with those who lost family members to criminal aliens. Dems weep over the plight of the illegals, but have no tears for us, the citizens of this nation. Donald Trump is standing firm. More Republicans need to speak up and make it crystal clear that they, too, stand firm on the need for a wall and the border security it will bring.

  2. Darrell Durham says:

    Congratulations, Paul. As usual, you have exposed the politicians and their ploys. They say and do exactly what they think looks best at the time in order to win the next election. That, in and of itself, is the problem Chuck and Nancy have with Trump – he ISN’T a politician! THAT’S why he was elected!

  3. Holland Cooke says:

    “…and Mexico will pay for it.”

  4. John Bushnell says:

    Boom, drop the mic, as usual, right on.

  5. Holland Cooke says:

    Trump: “You look at different places. They put up a wall, no problem. Look at San Antonio.”

    Correct my geography if I’ve got this wrong:
    San Antonio — 157 miles from the Mexican border — has no “wall.”

  6. Brendan says:

    You’re so right Paul, I’m sure the 800,000 government employees who donated their paychecks for the Presidents leverage are super happy to do so!!

  7. Darrell Durham says:

    Mexico may not pay for the barrier with cash but it will cost in other ways. They will be forced to deal with those no longer allowed into the US. But they have already offered to help them, the migrants refused, however, wanting help from the US. Read the Secure Fence Act. Everything except the money was agreed to 12 YEARS AGO! Yet Nancy says open the government and then we’ll talk.

  8. Darrell Durham says:

    Put Chuck and Nancy in a boat in the middle of the lake and shoot a hole in the boat. Then stand back and see whether they decide to try to bail water or plug the hole.

  9. R. Eagleman says:

    If President Trump blinks, it will be his biggest mistake and the Democrats’ most powerful campaign weapon! Anyone remember the famous promise by President George H.W. Bush: “Read my lips; no new taxes!”? However, he reluctantly agreed to raise some taxes in response to the Democrats promise to cut spending; but surprise, surprise, the spending cuts did not materialize. It was predictable that his trust in any Democrat promise was naive, and it would be even more foolhardy to trust the current gang of donkeys. If he goes wobbly, these scoundrels would bludgeon President Trump with his failure to keep his campaign promise to build the wall, and as with 41, there would be no second term. For the Democrats, this is their best chance to re-gain the White House, and they will not give up easily; therefore, President Trump must use whatever power is at his disposal to fulfill his promise to the American people. As Paul has reminded us, President Trump is not “regulation issue”, so he is not likely to behave like some of his predecessors.

  10. Holland Cooke says:

    Trump missed an opportunity to declare victory yesterday.

    The Senate offered him his $5.8 billion, stipulating that it be spent on repairing EXISTING physical barriers, and otherwise securing ALL borders (i.e., ports, air, mail, everywhere creepos and drugs come into the USA). But no new physical barrier.

    Admittedly, offering him the same dollar figure he wanted for his “Promises Kept” wall was a transparent dare by Democrats. One House member I heard interviewed suggested that a smarter number — which could be less or MORE — could be reckoned.

    But the opportunity Trump’s ego prevented him from hearing was when Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), #3 in House leadership, coined the term “Smart Wall,” meaning technology that plugs more leaks than a fixed barrier.

    NOT ONLY did Trump have his dollar figure on the table…but they GAVE him a face-saving “W” word. And he’d SOUND smart saying “Smart Wall,” explaining how “we got together and listened to the experts,” etc.

    But no.

    And tomorrow, another missed federal payday.

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      All of that political calculus may be spot on.

      But not one bit of it addresses the actual problem. Two thousand people a day come across the border. No one has proposed anything short of a hard barrier that has any plausible chance of stopping them.

      You may or may not be correct as to the politics. But my impression is that Trump cares less about the politics than he does about the actual results.

      If that is the case, God bless him. It’s about time.

  11. Darrell Durham says:

    During the discussion over Obamacare, when Republicans promised to vote against it the Democrats chided them to come up with a better solution. Well, the same should be asked of them now. Two words come to mind right now – term limits.

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