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Opinions | Pelosi said she’d do it, and she did

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 1/4/2019 Jennifer Rubin
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), with House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) at right, speaks on Thursday at the Capitol in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) © J. Scott Applewhite/AP House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), with House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) at right, speaks on Thursday at the Capitol in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

In her first day in office (this time around), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did what she had vowed to do: Fund the government and pass a bill to reopen the departments closed in President Trump’s shutdown.

The Post reported, “The six-bill package passed the House 241-190 Thursday night, and the short-term Homeland Security spending bill passed 239-192. A handful of Republicans broke ranks on each measure to vote ‘yes’ with the Democrats." By separating the two measures, Pelosi opened the door for “Senate Republicans to pass legislation that would reopen most of the government while setting aside the debate over the border wall. But thus far, because of Trump’s opposition, party leaders have refused.” Trump has threatened a veto and, so far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is hiding under his desk (figuratively, but who knows?).

Other Republicans, however, are starting to crack. “Despite the broad GOP opposition, two Senate Republicans who are up for reelection in 2020 broke with Trump and party leaders, saying it was time to end the impasse even if Democrats won’t approve border funding,” The Post reported. “The comments from Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — the only Senate Republicans running for reelection in states Trump lost — pointed to cracks within the GOP that could grow as the shutdown nears the two-week mark.”

Equally worrisome for Trump, five House Republicans voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security without the wall; seven voted to fund the remaining parts of the government that are shut down.

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As for Pelosi, to borrow from the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, “The lady’s not for turning.” Pelosi explained at an early evening news conference: “What we’re asking the Republicans in the Senate to do is to take ‘yes' for an answer. We are sending them back exactly word for word what they have passed. It’ll cover the eight agencies of government and exactly what they passed in a continuing resolution until Feb. 8th. Why would they not do that? ... Is it because the president won’t sign it? Did they not hear about the coequal branch of government, and that we the Congress send the president legislation and he can choose to sign or not?" She continued: “So there’s something very wrong with this picture. It can’t possibly be that the president is saying, ‘I will never sign what the Republicans in the Senate have written.' "

At this point, Trump doesn’t know what he wants — wall-wall, or a fence-wall, or a metaphor-wall, as Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) suggested the other day (raising the question as to why we are shutting down the government over Trump’s metaphor).

Gosh, if Collins, Gardner and just two other Republican senators (Lamar Alexander of Tennessee? Lisa Murkowski of Alaska?) would refuse to confirm any more judges or executive branch appointments until McConnell puts a bill on the floor, they might force the Republican Senate majority leader to do his job.

Half-jokingly, the talk now is about what fig leaf Trump will accept in order to declare victory without actually getting his way. (Show him a picture of some other wall and tell him it’s all done? Tell him the Army will build it after all? Tell him a “wall of drones and electronic gear” is a wall by any other name?)

Trump cannot win this. His fellow Republicans now must find a way for him to lose without completely humiliating himself. Maybe Fox News could agree not to cover his collapse.

Read more:

Jennifer Rubin: Speaker Pelosi should inspire Americans — and terrify Trump cronies

Jennifer Rubin: The people’s house: A new beginning

Eugene Robinson: Speaker Pelosi will show Trump he’s not the only one with power in Washington

Henry Olsen: Trump won’t lose in a long shutdown

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