MARGARET BRENNAN: What was actually accomplished?SEN. COLLINS: Well I would say absolutely nothing. Shutdowns are never good policy, ever. They are never to be used as a means to achieve any kind of goal no matter how important that goal may seem to be. They are ineffective, they cause tremendous harm to innocent federal employees and their families who are struggling to pay their bills without paychecks. They hurt those who depend on government services. We’ve seen the impact on air transportation just this past week. On small businesses that have contracts with federal agencies, and ultimately they damage the economy. And that’s why prior to the shutdown, at a meeting with the White House, I conveyed to the president my belief that he should not pursue this route.MARGARET BRENNAN: What was the White House and was- Congress, too slow to realize the kind of pain and impact you're talking about? Your colleague Lisa Murkowski said you know she was kind of stunned by this. That elected members didn't feel the impact until they were delayed going through security at airports.SEN. COLLINS: Well it didn't come as a surprise to me. Back in 2013 when we had a 16 day long shutdown, I led a bipartisan group that produced a plan to reopen government. I heard from Mainers who worked from federal agencies who told me of their personal hardships and it was heartbreaking to hear that. So I don't know how any member of the administration, or of Congress, could think that a shutdown was a worthy pursuit. It never is.MARGARET BRENNAN: Director Mulvaney said that — Chief of Staff Mulvaney now — said that there’s opportunity created here. That’s what was won. What — what’s the best thing you can get in the next 21 days?SEN. COLLINS: The best agreement that we can get is an agreement on border security, but an agreement to fund federal government through the end of the fiscal year which is September 30th. No more short term, stopgap funding measures and we cannot have the threat of a government shutdown hanging over our people and our economy. . . . I think what will happen is that the efforts to continue to build physical barriers, which have gone on in the last two administrations will continue but not to the degree that the president has requested.
Then there was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has not exactly been a harsh critic of the president. For a change, he was not obfuscating or concealing his sharp disagreement with Trump. “Well, hopefully it teaches everyone that shutdowns are not good leverage in any negotiation,” he told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press." He was even less enthusiastic about use of an emergency declaration. “I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think it’ll be a terrible idea. I hope he doesn’t do it. . . . . It’s just not a good precedent to set in terms of action. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want border security. I do. I just think that’s the wrong way to achieve it.” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) appearing on Fox also voiced his opposition to use of emergency powers as well.
Given Republicans' disinclination to indulge Trump further, Trump won’t be able to force his wall on an unwilling Senate (let alone the House), in which six Republicans already voted for a continuing resolution. Presented again with a stalemate, Trump cannot count on holding back another CR, maybe even one that takes us to the end of the fiscal year. As for the emergency, the idea is preposterous on its face; to threaten for months that he’ll declared an emergency if he doesn’t get his way underscores there is no emergency. Moreover, his declaration of an emergency can be overridden by a simple majority of both houses, which would be even more humiliating than Trump’s cave on the shutdown. In addition, as we have noted, it’s politically perilous to take funds from actual disaster victims for a wall for a nonemergency.
In short, Trump has even less leverage now than he did when he was forced to reopen the government. He can huff and puff, but not even Republicans in Congress think they can get away with demanding “a wall or else!” There is no “else,” and everyone but Trump seems to have gotten the message.