(EDITOR’S NOTE, 9/23/18, 10:00 PM ET: This article has been updated to highlight that although Bernie Sanders is currently registered as an Independent, he self-identifies as a Democratic Socialist, and co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus — which consists entirely of Democrats — when he was a member of the House. Grit Post made the decision to refer to him as a Democrat in our headline, given his self-identification, the fact that he caucuses with Democrats, and ran for president in 2016 on the Democratic ticket.)
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a measure Tuesday to put off budget and border wall fights until after the midterm elections. While most of the government is only funded through December 7th, the resolution included full-year Pentagon funding for 2019, giving almost $700 billion to the military. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) was the only non-Republican “no” vote.
The measure, which passed 93-7, also included full-year funding for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. No Democrat voted against the resolution (Bernie Sanders co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus in 1991, caucuses with Senate Democrats, and ran for president as a Democrat in 2016, but identifies as Independent.)
The bill, being called a “minibus” spending package instead of an “omnibus,” included increased spending for weapons systems, including 93 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and three Littoral Combat Ships.
The stopgap measure is meant to avoid the possible shutdown of the federal government if no funding measure is passed by the September 30 deadline. The House is not currently in session, but is expected to take up the “minibus” next week.
“If it happens, it happens,” he said of an October shutdown. “If it’s about border security, I’m willing to do anything.” He doubled down again on border wall demands over the weekend via tweet.
When will Republican leadership learn that they are being played like a fiddle by the Democrats on Border Security and Building the Wall? Without Borders, we don’t have a country. With Open Borders, which the Democrats want, we have nothing but crime! Finish the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2018
The minibus may prevent that shutdown, staffers hope, or at least make a veto of the continuing resolution more painful for Trump, who desires more military spending. But he has made a rallying cry with his threats to shut the government down over the wall. However, by shutting down the federal government, Trump would be vetoing new jets and ships he also dearly wants.
“We’re either getting it or we’re closing down government,” Trump said in an August rally in Pennsylvania.
The Senate has, in a broad bipartisan way, bargained that Trump wants planes and ships more than he wants the border wall, or at the very least cannot veto planes and ships to force a shutdown.
But even with 79 percent of the spending package, going to the military — effectively in order to bribe the president into doing his job and keeping the federal government functioning — all Democrats get is not having to deal with the fight over a border wall.
That price seems to be too high for Bernie Sanders.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.