Congress, stop Trump from using government shutdowns to try and get his wall

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People pass graffiti along the border structure in Tijuana, Mexico. | Julie Watson/Associated Press

I am stumped and frankly troubled by how the media and Congress have focused on Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall with Mexico. That’s only enough to build 220 miles. According to his favorite and most trusted news source, Fox News (so you know it must be true), the total cost is estimated at $25 billion to build 1,150 miles of wall where there is no existing natural or physical barrier. Now that Trump has walked back his campaign pledge of making Mexico pay for the wall, and has cost the economy $3 billion with his government shutdown, how can we contemplate allowing another?

If Trump had prevailed in using this tactic to squeeze his demand from Congress, the remaining 80% of as-yet unfunded wall could precipitate another four shutdowns, if he demands $5 billion at a time. How many more shutdowns can we afford to give Trump so he gets what he wants?

Without even considering the fact that once completed, this wall could cost an ongoing $750 million a year in maintenance costs, the entire project seems of dubious value. But of overriding importance is the notion that if once established as a negotiating tactic, shutting down the entire government becomes a viable way for the nation’s chief executive to force his agenda. It will not serve or protect the public interest.

We must urge our legislators to resist this at all costs.

Jim Renshaw, Carbondale

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Madigan’s faulty memory

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Jack Nowicki, Oak Park

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It’s very good news to know that in the last year, the Chicago Animal Care and Control agency successfully released many cats and dogs. This included an impressive increase in the numbers of canines and felines that were adopted by caring families and individuals. Accolades for the administrators and staff, who have made substantive progress via transforming Chicago Animal Care and Control into a more efficient, humane and compassionate agency that works for the betterment of man’s best friends and fellow creatures.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

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