A new Morning Consult poll released Wednesday found that Americans aren't looking forward to a "shutdown, part 2," but the White House is reportedly looking for a grand, "major" compromise deal on immigration with only three weeks left until the budget deadline.
The poll found that a majority of Americans — 53% — believe a second shutdown is a mistake, even if the White House believes the threat of a second showdown is enough to motivate lawmakers to come to the bargaining table. They're also not fans of President Donald Trump's plan to declare an "emergency" at the United States' southern border and order the military to build a border wall without Congressional approval for funding.
Fifty-three percent of respondents in the poll of 1,997 registered voters said Trump should not shut down the government or declare a national emergency if lawmakers don’t fund his wall, while about a quarter of voters (24 percent) said he should declare an emergency. Only 9 percent said Trump should shut down the government.
The best hope Trump has on the issue of an "emergency order" are Republican voters, who support the measure by a plurality. Around 47% of Republicans believe illegal immigration is enough of an emergency to justify going around a Congress unwilling to part with the $5 billion it would take to start the project — even if the last shutdown cost them at least twice as much as simply funding the wall.
That isn't stopping the Trump White House from crafting an ambitious plan to handle immigration in the three weeks between possible shutdowns. According to a report from Axios, which has been closely monitoring the White House's immigration strategy, top Trump administration officials want a "major" immigration bargain, and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is already holding meetings in anticipation of formulating that exact plan.
“They would like to try and replicate at some level a bipartisan coalition on immigration issues, something paired with border security as well," one source, who attended a White House meeting on the issue, told Axios.
The White House is reportedly modeling the big immigration deal on its recent criminal justice reform effort, which brought both Democrats and Republicans together to begin progress on an issue that has dogged both parties for decades. The hope is that a similar coalition can build on shared goals to solve immigration — the single largest issue facing congress in recent memory.
Axios reports that Kushner will join "Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to negotiate immigration on behalf of the White House," and that their team has been given a wide berth to conduct meetings and investigations and craft deals.
It won't be easy; already many in Trump's brain trust are telling the president, vice president, and advisers that Trump's key constituents aren't interested in a grand immigration bargain that subverts the president's 2016 campaign promises — particularly the border wall. Others don't believe putting a three-week time limit on the issue will motivate lawmakers to come to the table. Instead, they're pushing a longer-term agreement, with short term concessions to achieve budget passage.
The White House will have to figure out its position very soon. Negotiations on the budget deal will begin in the Senate early next week.