NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana political leaders disagree over predictions of a government shutdown later this week, due to an impasse over funding for a border wall.
As U.S. House minority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) adjusts to new political realities, he’s also setting some big personal goals for the year ahead.
After being shot by a sniper in Washington a year and a half ago, Scalise said he knows he may never have the mobility he once had, but he is still preparing for 2019 with some big goals.
“My ultimate goal in 2019 is to get to a place where I don’t need crutches at all, I’m down to one crutch, and that’s a big goal of mine,” Scalise said.
Politically, Scalise faces big challenges as well. Beginning this week with the threat of a government shutdown, due to a potential impasse, over a border wall.
“Right now, the president is focused on getting funding for the wall. will Mexico pay for it? we can always sort through that and agreements with Mexico," Scalise said. “We just got a new trade agreement. Our president’s working to get agreements. What we need is to get an agreement in Washington over building the wall, and I hope we can get that done.”
While some say a shut down is inevitable, Louisiana’s senior senator is not so sure.
"I don't think there will be a government shutdown, but we need a secure border," said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La).
Until November’s elections, Scalise served as a majority whip in a Republican-controlled house. But the House will soon have a Democratic majority, and Scalise faces new dynamics.
“There will be a lot of changes moving into the minority, we don’t set the agenda like we do today in the majority,” Scalise said.
In spite of shifting political winds, and decisions by John Kennedy (R-La.) and Jeff Landry not to run for governor, Scalise says he will remain on Capitol Hill, but he is not sure if there are other candidates in the running he would support.
“It will be months before we see things settled,” Scalise said.
And Scalise is determined to continue to fight for his party while attending to physical therapy sessions twice a week in his effort to regain full mobility.
“I can’t run the Crescent City Classic, but maybe I will later. I have the things in life that really matter,” he said.
Scalise will head to Washington later this week to try and deal with the threat of a possible shut down. If no agreement over border wall funding is found that shut down could begin as soon as Friday.