The Associated Press (AP) is reporting this morning that President Donald Trump has told lawmakers in Congress that he will allow the federal government to shut down before signing a spending bill like the one that he signed into law in March.
A budget battle that tears apart the Republican Party is undoubtedly good news for Democrats running for Congress in the fall. If the government shuts down just weeks before the November election most people believe this will be blamed on the GOP.
According to the AP: “President Donald Trump has warned Congress that he will never sign another foot-tall, $1 trillion-plus government-wide spending bill like the one he did in March. His message to lawmakers in both parties: Get your act together before the next budget lands on my desk.”
American voters know that the Republican Party is in complete control of the government in Washington. They know that the responsibility for passing a federal budget is the responsibility of Republicans. They also know that if they can’t pass a budget and Trump shuts down the federal government, it will be the fault of the GOP, and not the Democrats. Of course Trump and Republicans in Congress will blame Democrats for the budget impasse and possible government shutdown, but it won’t work.
The budget is supposed to be approved by October 1st of each year, and last year it didn’t happen because of deep and intense divisions within the Republican Party. This required Congress to pass five separate “continuing resolutions” to keep the government operating on a short term basis. Ultimately the government was shut down for a short time last winter before Republicans were forced to compromise and get a budget bill passed and signed by the president.
Trump signed the compromise budget bill because he had to. It was a political necessity. If the U.S. government shuts down and there is no federal budget, when Republicans control all branches of government, this shows that the GOP cannot be trusted to be in charge and a change is needed.
The worst-case scenario for the GOP is a government shutdown a few weeks before Election Day on November 6th. There is a huge, historic battle this year for control of Congress. But Trump has been very vocally advocating for Congress to provide funding in the budget for his biggest boondoggle: his long-promised border wall with Mexico.
He has been expressing increasing frustration over his lack of success in getting funding for his pet project that he promised to his racist supporters. At a campaign rally last month he said, “We need the wall. We’re going to have it all. And again, that wall has started. We got $1.6 billion. We come up again in September. If we don’t get border security, we’ll have no choice. We’ll close down the country because we need border security.”
Republicans are in a difficult situation because they have Trump throwing tantrums on one hand, stirring up his base, and on the other hand they have the majority of American voters who know the border wall is a crazy idea and would be a massive waste of money.
The battle of the budget in coming months will show the entire country that the Republican Party doesn’t stand for anything and should not be in power. A government shutdown would be bad for the country but could end up being a good thing for Democrats and their chances to take back control of Congress.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.