There seems to be some confusion in some circles about who is to blame for the current government shutdown. Even a few legitimate journalistic operations posted something along the lines of, “Democrats block bill to prevent shutdown,” or some such nonsense.
That’s just a lie.
Let’s get real here. It’s not hard to figure out that the shutdown is absolutely the fault of Trump and the GOP. First of all, why do we only face this kind of thing when Republicans are running Congress? it’s because Republicans only care about winning. They have no stomach for actually governing. Listen to their rhetoric; it’s all about “getting the win,” or beating the Democrats. Nothing is ever about the American people and what’s good for us. It’s all about what’s good for them and how much power they can muster up.
There is no way we should be on the brink of a shutdown again. Republicans have run Congress for almost eight years now, so they know how this works. This constant brinksmanship is all about power. They know they have to pass a budget every year, and yet, they have passed one since they’ve been in charge. They talk a great game when it comes to fiscal responsibility, but they treat the debt ceiling as if it’s optional. They also try to con their own “base” into thinking the debt ceiling somehow has a relationship to the debt, as if not raising the debt ceiling will reduce the possibility of increasing the debt. Of course, these are the same people who looked the other way a month ago when the Republicans pretty much assured that our $20 trillion debt will become $30 trillion within the next decade and they didn’t even flinch. They don’t have any sort of ideology really, except being against “liberals” and/or “Democrats.” Anything else is fluid.
Long ago, before the government staying open was actually on the line, Democrats told Republicans that they would only vote for such a bill if there was something in there to relieve the pressure from Dreamers. These are people who are in this country because their parents brought them here when they were very young. They are Americans; they grew up here, they went to school here and the country they came from is essentially a “foreign country.” Yet Lord Donny apparently wants them deported, even though he is on record claiming he wants to “treat them with love,” so he killed Obama’s DACA executive order.
After the Republican Party chose to not pass a bill to extend the CHIP children’s health insurance program, Democrats have also demanded that Republicans restore it, although they did not actually make the demand that it be included in the continuing resolution to stop the shutdown. Yet, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tweeted this the day before the shutdown vote:
Yes, you read that right. Once again, the Republican leadership has used innocent people who need relief from an unfair law and turned them into hostages to getting the GOP to do the right thing. “If you Democrats don’t want us to throw Dreamers out of the country, you will bend to our will and stop us from shutting down the government.” That sure doesn’t sound like it’s a decision made by Democrats. Republicans and McConnell knew DACA had to be in the bill, but they put a six-year CHIP extension in there, instead. That was a conscious choice on the part of Republicans, so it’s hard for them to make the case that DEMOCRATS caused this.
There is another factor here that Republicans and Donald Trump don’t want you to think about. While Trump wants us all to believe he’s the world’s greatest deal maker and negotiator, the fact is, no one in Congress knew whether or not he would even sign the bill if they passed it. For example, he has said he wants to do a DACA bill. Second, during the infamous “shithole” meeting, Trump actually said he approved of pushing a clean DACA bill, until several Republicans at the meeting reminded him that he shouldn’t be.
So, let’s recap, shall we?
1. It’s the GOP’s fault that we faced shutdown in the first place. The run the House, the Senate and the White House; there is no excuse for allowing the funding of the government to constantly come down to the last second. The extension bill that was voted down Friday night was only for four weeks, anyway, which means we would have to go through this bullshit in a month again, anyway.
2. Republicans have known for month that Democrats made demands regarding DACA, so there was no excuse to not negotiate with Democrats to come up with a solution. The problem is, Republicans never work with Democrats on anything. They wouldn’t even allow Democrats to amend the tax cut bill, which is a key reason no Democrats voted for it.
3. Republicans had no idea if Trump would sign any bill into law because he doesn’t seem to have any actual convictions of any kind. He reflexively repeats whatever his people hear on right wing talk radio and they have no actual convictions of their own.
Face it. There is no way any of this is the fault of Democrats. Government shutdowns are GOP-manufactured. They are too strident and ego-driven to even allow Democrats to be part of the process, so their plaintive cries of “Democrats won’t stop us from shutting down the government” are just so much nonsense. If you think this is a Democratic crisis, there is something wrong with your view of politics.
Also published on Medium.