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There could still be a partial shutdown of the government starting Saturday if Congress doesn't pass a budget bill in time, but at least Donald Trump has caved, yet again, on what last week he insisted was absolutely completely necessary to keep the government open. You might remember it -- dude said he'd be PROUD to shut down the government and take credit for it if he didn't get $5 billion to build the thing. Today, he's more like MEH, what wall, he can fund it some other way, maybe, honestly, who cares, it's time for golf, isn't it? Whatever his thinking, Trump has dropped the wall-funding ultimatum, though there's still no budget deal, because congressional Democrats aren't about to take Mitch McConnell's crappy alternative offer, either.


The wall funding demand simply vanished today, although Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered some complete bafflegab to make it seem like Trump hadn't just shrugged and given up, because the loyal idiots might find that bothersome. Sanders explained this is all thanks to some super-secret thinky things the president came up with, because of his vast intellect. No need to get $5 billion earmarked for the wall, you see, because

Trump did not want a government shutdown and [...] the administration had identified "other ways" to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Sanders' comments Tuesday reflect a significant shift from when Trump last week told Democratic leaders he would be "proud" to shut down the government to get border wall funding.

"We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion," Sanders said on Fox News. "At the end of the day we don't want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border."

And where will $5 billion magically spring from? Maybe Bitcoins For Wall? Nah, too specific:

There are certainly a number of different funding sources that we've identified that we can use, that we can couple with money that would be given through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border," she said.

The Presidential Stuff 'N' Things budget, for instance! Don't worry, Trump knows how to make a few calls and make money appear. Just route it through the Trump Foundation, maybe, and nobody will be the wiser. What? OK, maybe not. Sanders also mentioned the $1.6 billion border security bill passed earlier this year, but that seems like a dead end for wall-building, seeing as how House Dems now say they're only inclined to pass $1.3 billion for fences, not a whole-ass wall. Honestly, nobody knows what Sanders had in mind. Maybe zeroing out the budget for the Coast Guard, FEMA, and ... what's a "CDC"? Do we need one of those? It sounds boring.

The current sticking point is an alternate Republican ask that would free up a whole billion dollars for Trump to play with as he sees fit.

Under the offer, Congress would also reprogram $1 billion in unspent funds that Trump could use on his immigration policies. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who oversees the panel in charge of homeland security funding, said the reprogrammed money would not be able to be used for a physical wall but could be spent on other border security measures.

Nope, not gonna happen, Schumer and Pelosi told McConnell today, because no way does Trump get that much money to suddenly pump into tent cities or baby cages or migrant-child skeet shooting for rich GOP donors.

"Leader Schumer and I have said that we cannot support the offer they made of a billion-dollar slush fund for the president to implement his very wrong immigration policies," Pelosi said. "So that won't happen."

Good call, Madame Speaker-To-Be. With a lot of lame-duck Republicans just plain not even showing up to vote -- some may leave town for good before Friday's deadline -- the odds improve of a less odious budget deal that will keep the government open without going full Stephen Miller on immigration.

Hell, maybe Pelosi should hold out for Medicare for All. It's a thought.

All right, Wonkers, OPEN THREAD TIME. Have at it.

[CNN / WaPo / NYT]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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