When the new Congress opens on Thursday, Democrats plan to propose a bill that will fund government operations through February 8, according to local media. However, the new bill will include only $1.3 billion in funding for border security — a figure much lower than the $5 billion Trump has demanded.
On Monday, Republican Congressman Mark Meadows in a statement said the latest proposal by Democrats to end the stalemate is not a serious attempt to secure the border and lacks adequate funding for the wall.
The US government shut down on December 22 after Democratic lawmakers and Trump failed to reach an agreement over construction of his border wall. Trump soon after even threatened to close down the southern border if the Democrats did not surrender to his demands.
Meanwhile, recent polling has revealed that a majority of US voters actually oppose Trump’s wall.
When the new Congress opens on January 3, the Democratic Party will have the majority in the House of Representatives after winning enough seats during November’s midterm elections. The Democrats have been vocal ahead of and after their election victory about intensifying and launching new probes into the Trump administration related to a range of issues from ethics violations to Russia ties.
"The Democrats know they have Trump cornered both politically — emboldened by their election success — and on tape, with his boast that he was proud to shut down the government, plus public opinion against the wall," Grosscup said. "They [Democrats] are waiting for him to come down off his high horse and figure out a way to re-open the government."
However, Trump too remained confident that he could wait the Democrats out, Grosscup observed, but is taking quite a risk.
"Principally, Donald Trump is insisting on a Wall… [based on] his conclusion that as long as no one among the Democrat leadership challenges his false equivalency of only the Wall equals border security, he can win," Grosscup said.
Trump had moved to an extreme position in keeping the government shut down to maintain the credibility of his bluff, Grosscup cautioned.
The US president was also "doubling down" with empty threats to close the southern border if he did not get his $5 billion in wall funding, Grosscup added.
Potential Lost Opportunity for Dems
Currently there is nearly 600 miles worth of barrier, primarily consisting of 16-foot high fencing, along the 1,900-mile US-Mexico border. Trump wants to erect steel and/or concrete walls over 30 feet tall on more than 200 miles of the border that would include new and replacement barriers.
Although many US voters have concerns about border security, most do not think the wall is worth a government shutdown, according to recent polls. Hence, one would think the Democrats have an advantage with popular sentiment at their back, some experts say.
However, University of Pittsburgh Professor of International Relations Michael Brenner told Sputnik that the Democrats were failing to take full advantage of Trump’s extremism in threatening to critically damage the functioning of the US national government.
"It would be a big win for the Dems if they knew what they were doing…. their even bigger mistake is not to stress the undemocratic hostage-taking strategy of Trump," Brenner said.
The Democrats had failed to sufficiently emphasize the irresponsibility and dangers of trump’s position in the crisis, Brenner pointed out.
Brenner suggested that the Democrats will likely throw away their advantage and eventually agree to a compromise on Trump’s terms to end the confrontation.
"I can see no feasible compromise. The Dems likely will bend and call that a statesman-like compromise," Brennan said. "In fact, [it would be] a Trump win."