Voters have an unambiguous message for Washington: Do not shut down the government — unless it furthers certain policy goals.
Sixty-five percent of voters in a new Morning Consult/Politico poll say that Congress should "take all necessary steps to avoid a government shutdown." But many of those same voters are more than ready to pull the trigger over certain hot button issues.
That should put lawmakers on notice before they skip town Thursday for a two-week recess. While the Supreme Court scuffle and Obamacare debacle have sucked up most of the political oxygen recently, an April 28 spending deadline looms large. By that 100th day of Trump's presidency, Congress must pass a continuing resolution or shutdown the government.
More than just paying federal bills, that debate has sparked fights over federal subsidies for Planned Parenthood and Trump's border wall.
While most voters don't want a shutdown over the wall, a pretty big minority is itching for that fight: 38 percent said the issue was an "important enough issue to prompt a government shutdown." And if you poll only Republicans, the idea is popular: 53 percent of GOP voters support a shutdown over the wall.
President Trump has already demanded $1.5 billion to fund the initial phase of construction. Knowing that the majority of Republicans support the effort, Trump won't be easily persuaded to suddenly abandon his marquee campaign promise.
And just like Republicans aren't willing to give up the border wall without a fight, Democrats are rallying to the defense of Planned Parenthood's federal subsidies. By a 47 percent to 43 percent margin, Democrats said keeping the taxpayer spigot flowing to the abortion giant was an issue worth shutting down the government over.
After the American Health Care Act went down in flames, Republicans want a drama-free spending agreement. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said as much and already started negotiations with Democrats. But the looming battles over Planned Parenthood and the border wall could thwart those hopes.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.