President Trump unexpectedly rejected an offer to temporarily fund the government in favor of insisting on more border wall funding on Thursday. Trump informed GOP leadership in an Oval Office meeting that he would not sign a stopgap funding bill that had passed the Senate, announced House Speaker Paul Ryan after the hour-long meeting. That means it’s back to the drawing board for Congress, which faces a Friday deadline to either pass a bill that Trump will sign or face a partial government shutdown.
—QUOTABLE: “President Trump just met with Republican Members of the House. Not surprisingly, they all feel strongly about Border Security — stopping the flow of drugs, stopping human trafficking, and stopping terrorism. We protect nations all over the world, but Democrats are unwilling to protect our nation. We urgently need funding for border security and that includes a wall.” -Sarah Sanders
Rep. Kevin McCarthy handily defeated Rep. Jim Jordan in a battle over who would lead the new Republican minority in the House. McCarthy, a California Republican favored by retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, delivered an old fashioned whooping to Ohio’s Jordan—159-43—to become the next minority leader. Most of the other leadership elections went as thought—Steve Scalise of Louisiana was named minority whip and Liz Cheney (Dick Cheney’s daughter) of Wyoming became the GOP Conference Chair.
House Republicans are bracing for an ugly internal battle now that they lost the majority. While Democrat Nancy Pelosi is confident she will take her throne as Speaker without drama, the battle for minority leader—the leader of the House GOP caucus, is shaping up to be more of a mess. Already, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California plan to run for the spot. McCarthy was Paul Ryan’s top lieutenant and is thought to be in the best position, but Jordan’s stock has risen among conservatives as co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus.
—MEANWHILE, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming announced she plans to run for House Republican Conference Chair, challenging Washington Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, creating even more discord in the new minority caucus leadership elections.
President Trump is backing down from a threat to use his executive order power to re-interpret the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. He had floated the idea Tuesday of unilaterally making the change in order to do away with birthright citizenship, which put him publicly at odds with House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he’s changed his tune and now says going through Congress would be best—mostly because that would be permanent, while an executive order can be undone by the next president.
—QUOTABLE: “I’d rather do it through Congress because that’s permanent.” -Trump to reporters at the White House
President Trump is not happy with Paul Ryan. The House Speaker had responded to Trump’s comment that he wants to use an executive order to reinterpret the 14th Amendment and eliminate the idea of birthright citizenship. That’s not how any of this works, Ryan basically said. You have to follow the constitutional process, which would probably involve a Constitutional Amendment. But in a tweet Trump said Ryan should focus on the election, not immigration, “something he knows nothing about,” Trump wrote.
—QUOTABLE: “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”
—SIDE NOTE: Trump and some of his supporters believe the words “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” that are in the 14th Amendment is essentially a loophole that would allow birthright citizenship, where a child is a U.S. citizen simply by being born on American soil, to be interpreted out of the Constitution without an amendment.
President Trump on Tuesday said he wants to use an executive order to put an end to birthright citizenship. The move would put a stop to the long, long time practice of granting citizenship to anyone who was born on U.S. soil, which is outlined in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Many believe that the Amendment has contributed to the problem of illegal immigration, since any child within U.S. borders, even to illegals, is an American citizen automatically.
—QUOTABLE: “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t.” -Trump
—MEANWHILE, House Speak Paul Ryan threw a big bucket of cold water on President Trump’s idea that a simple executive order could undo a Constitutional Amendment. “You obviously cannot do that,” Ryan said. Any changes to a Constitutional Amendment require an act of Congress, which is for a good reason.
—QUOTABLE: ”We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives we believe in the Constitution …. I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process.” -Ryan