A Democratic Rift is Developing Over Border Wall Funding | NTK Network A Democratic Rift is Developing Over Border Wall Funding

A Democratic Rift is Developing Over Border Wall Funding

A group of border-state House Democrats issued a statement accusing Chuck Schumer of “betraying them” over border wall funding. Half an hour later, he called to protest.

By NTK Staff | 12.03.2018 @1:00pm
A Democratic Rift is Developing Over Border Wall Funding

House Democrats, particularly those representing districts in border states, are growing increasingly concerned over Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) handling of budget negotiations. They issued a statement that “accused Chuck Schumer of betraying them,” according to Politico.

Not 30 minutes later, Schumer was on the phone protesting the move. “Retract your statement, Schumer urged Rep. Henry Cuellar last Thursday,” Politico’s Rachael Bade wrote.

“I said, ‘No, I’m not going to withdraw the letter because we don’t want you weakening House negotiations for Democrats,” Cuellar recounted of his conversation with Schumer.

House and Senate Democrats are now openly sniping at each other over Trump’s border wall, a division that could weaken their hand in critical spending talks over the coming days.

At issue is the $5 billion that President Trump is requesting for border wall funding. The government needs to pass a spending bill by Friday before a partial shutdown takes effect. Some Senate Democrats are open to at least meeting Trump part way on border wall funding, but House Democrats are much less open to that idea.

Schumer offered $1.6 billion for border wall funding, but progressive groups like Our Revolution, aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), are openly protesting any dollar amount spent on the border wall. Their position was trumpeted by newly elected progressive star and democratic socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

The spat between Schumer and House Democrats is indicative of what larger rifts are likely to develop over the course of the next two years. A full slate of liberal candidates won House seats in November. Emboldened by their new majority in the House, current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi may have a difficult time wrangling these far-left voices:

But by empowering newcomers like Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ms. Tlaib, Ms. Pelosi risks creating a headache for herself down the road: a Democratic version of the House Freedom Caucus, the far-right group that consistently defies Republican leadership, making life difficult for Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

With Ms. Pelosi in their debt, the potential speaker may be giving voice to their dissatisfaction with mainstream Democrats, emboldening them as tensions between their midterm campaigns and the party establishment linger. In a closed-door meeting with the incoming freshman Democrats on Tuesday, Ms. Pelosi walked a fine line, acknowledging their “idealism, integrity and imagination” while warning of the risks of being intransigent.

The Democrats’ version of the Freedom Caucus, known as the Congressional Progressive Caucus, will jump in membership next year, from 78 members to 90. Members of the caucus are “flexing” their muscles, according to the New York Times, and is demanding “proportional representation on House committees” in the next Congress.

The first real test of whether Democrats can wrangle their far-left members will come this week as budget negotiations continue, but this could become a recurring theme over the course of the next two years if House Democrats maintain their current posturing.

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