The Border Wall “Poison Pill” On Federal Infrastructure Spending?

The one area where political observers thought Democrats could work with Trump is on infrastructure spending.  Even Governor Brown, who got a lot of attention for savaging Trump right after the election, submitted a wish-list of projects he was hoping would get federal support, particularly high speed rail.

Trump could certainly use a big legislative achievement, and most Republicans are unlikely to go along with infrastructure spending, either because it will increase the deficit or require tax increases.  So he’d rely on working with Democrats.

But at the same time, Trump wants to fulfill his promise to build a border wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.  And if he doesn’t get money to build it through other means, it’s likely he would include it in an infrastructure bill.

Not so fast, says Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.  In a letter to the senate majority leader, he warned against its inclusion in a budget bill or else it would risk a government shutdown, per Politico.  And if it’s not in a budget bill, it may reappear in an infrastructure proposal.

Of course, a faster way to kill the wall might be to get some libertarian groups like the Pacific Legal Foundation to sue over the wall route, where it runs through private property.  I know that’s an issue in state like Texas, where the wall would bisect some properties.

So far though, Trump seems like very much the political novice he claims to be, having campaigned on promises that are hard to achieve in practice.  His unorthodox style got him an upset political win, but it remains to be seen if it’s actually going to work in the difficult process of getting major legislation passed.  And the infrastructure bill seems like just one of those tests.