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‘Mitch, go nuclear’: Pressure builds on McConnell to pass border wall funding bill with 51 votes

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Amid all the uproar Thursday evening over Defense Secretary Jim Mattis tendering his resignation after President Trump announced that he will withdraw troops from Syria, the House quietly passed a stopgap measure for funding the government that includes $5 billion for a border wall.

The Republican-controlled House approved the measure by a vote of 217 to 185 along party lines. The spending bill now goes to the Senate and the funding that President Donald Trump has so doggedly pursued may now be within his grasp — depending on how badly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants it.


With much of the media discounting any chances of the bill passing in the upper chamber, the question is will McConnell go nuclear. Of course, if “Dingy” Harry Reid still controlled the Senate we know that answer, but Fox News’ Ed Henry reported late Thursday that the GOP will only need 51 votes to pass the House bill that funds Trump’s border wall.


Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted a quote from Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., in support of McConnell going nuclear by using budget reconciliation.

“Eventually you have to recognize there’s an impasse,” Meadows noted, according to Pergram. “I would recommend to Mitch, go nuclear. Go to 51 votes.”

Meadows has been a fierce supporter of building a border wall and, saying it’s “time to fight,” he urged Trump to veto the stopgap spending bill that did not provide funding for it.

“If we’re not going to fight now, when are we going to fight?” he rightfully asked.

Of course, with so many weak-kneed moderate Republicans, to include more than one Trump hater in the GOP caucus — retiring Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker ring a bell? — finding 51 Republicans may prove harder than you might think.

Even more so coming on the heels of Mattis resigning, which has struck a nerve with some Republican senators.


President Trump took to Twitter late Thursday to thank House Republicans for having the temerity to take a stand and fund a wall to improve border security.

“Thank you to our GREAT Republican Members of Congress for your VOTE to fund Border Security and the Wall. The final numbers were 217-185 and many have said that the enthusiasm was greater than they have ever seen before. So proud of you all. Now on to the Senate!” he tweeted.


Trump also trolled House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said during last week’s meeting with the president that the GOP did not have the votes in the House to pass a bill that included funding for a border wall.

Meanwhile, the pressure is building for Mitch McConnell to fight like never before:


Tom Tillison


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