Republicans in Congress are expecting a partial government shutdown, “just in time for Christmas,” but they would probably rather have a lump of coal.
President Trump’s harmful comments at a White House meeting with congressional Democrats on Tuesday about how he would accept blame for a shutdown have made the partial shutdown scenario much more likely. And GOP members of Congress are not happy about it.
The shutdown may happen because of the president’s demands for $5 billion in wall funding. But this amount will not be approved by House Republicans, let alone Democrats in the House and Senate.
Two days later, Republicans on Capitol Hill still do not have a plan for keeping the government open. They also know that they are going to be blamed for a partial shutdown if it should occur.
“There is no discernable plan, none that’s been disclosed,” Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas said when asked how Trump and GOP leaders would be able to avoid the shutdown.
Apparently Republican lawmakers are waiting for Trump to tell them what kind of funding bill he’s willing to sign into law.
“Everybody is looking to him for a signal about what the president wants to do and so far it’s not clear,” Cornyn said.
Of course there is fierce Democratic opposition to spending any money on a southern border wall. The House held its last vote of the week yesterday and will not be back in session until Wednesday. This will give them just two days before they come up against the deadline for funding several government agencies to keep them open.
GOP said they believe they could get the votes for the legislation, ut the fact that they have not brought a bill to the floor indicates that they do not have the votes they need. If Republicans could pass a bill on their own it would give them leverage in their fight with Democrats.
Trump at the Tuesday meeting with Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi boasted that he could have a bill passed by the House easily. “Then do it,” Pelosi said, calling the president’s bluff.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), said it was not in the House GOP’s best interest to send a funding bill to the Senate if it wouldn’t pass there. He told reporters:
“Ok, so it’s December after the election. We shouldn’t be here for show, we should be here to get our work done and get out of here. We have to look at where we are in this process and what is the additive piece here: Is it the stay and wait or is it to take action? So those two things matter for a call like this.”
Retiring Speaker Paul Ryan has kept out of public view on the funding and Wall controversies.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), aren’t on the same page, either, adding to turmoil within their caucus.
Scalise said on Thursday that the House would advance a bill with Trump’s requested $5 billion for the border wall.
But McCarthy was not aware of Scalise’s plan. When asked about it, McCarthy told a reporter, “I didn’t hear him say that…. Interesting.”
Even though Trump and other Republicans will try to blame Democrats for a partial government shutdown, the American public knows the truth: Republicans are not capable of governing the country in a positive way. All they know how to do is attack the government and make it even more dysfunctional.
But that is not what the people of the United States want from their leaders, and this is why in January Democrats will be in charge of the House, and they will work to actually get things done and solve the real problems that the country is facing.
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.