Shut down the shutdown

Shut down the shutdown

Not having learned the proper lesson last time, Congress is on the verge of embarrassing itself once again.

The last time the federal government shut down was in 2013, when rebellious Republicans led by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz embraced the tactic as a means of forcing a repeal of Obamacare.

It was a futile and foolish gesture then, one that angered the public, and it will be the same again if Democrats follow through on their plan to shut down the government at midnight Friday.

Democrats are, of course, in the minority in Congress. But they have the necessary leverage to bring about a shutdown in the 51-49 Republican-controlled Senate because it takes 60 votes to pass spending bills in that body.

Brinkmanship may appeal to ideological zealots who insist that it's their way or the highway. But adopting a rule-or-ruin approach is always a poor means of doing the public's business.

Nonetheless, Democrats are trying to force into law a quasi-amnesty plan for young immigrants who were brought to the United States by their illegal immigrant parents.

The proposal, while not unreasonable, has been the subject of considerable negotiations on Capitol Hill, involving other issues like border security and chain migration.

But there's not going to be a deal on any one of those measures until both sides can reach an accommodation on all of them.

Both sides seemed to understand that a broad-based compromise was necessary. That's why Congress passed a temporary funding bill to avoid a shutdown in December, and why many in Congress want to do the same to avoid the impending shutdown.

But an agreement on another temporary measure is by no means assured, even though Republicans have offered a six-year extension of the Children Health Insurance Program to persuade Democrats to avert the shutdown.

That Democrats would consider voting against an extension of a children's health program they enthusiastically support demonstrates how committed they are to this particular amnesty.

The good news among all the bad news is that much of the federal government will continue to operate in the event of a shutdown.

The entities that will close, like the federal parks, museums and monument, rely on annual appropriations. If they're provided no money, they close.

Entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare, do not rely on annual appropriations, and they will remain open. So too will federal law enforcement agencies and the military. State and local governments will not be affected.

So there will be plenty of government services open and available to citizens who need them.

Those most affected will be the thousands of federal workers subject to furlough if the shutdown takes place.

None of this would be happening, of course, if the congressional budget review process hadn't completely fallen apart. Instead of passing annual appropriations bills, a traditional part of the budget process, Congress has gotten in a years-long habit of passing spending resolutions that keep the government open but lay the groundwork for what amounts to political blackmail in which both parties engage.

There are major issues involved in this lamentable exercise, not just immigration and children's health but military and domestic spending. Even as Democrats say they won't approve a spending plan unless they get their way on amnesty, a group of recalcitrant Republicans are making a similar threat unless they get more money for the military.

That's left Republican congressional leaders searching just enough for Republicans and Democrats who wish to avoid the shutdown. But there's no guarantee they'll achieve success, and, even then, it will be temporary.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion

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APC wrote on January 19, 2018 at 1:01 pm

By all means - blame the Ds with the false narrative that they sought this shutdown. Ignore that almost 10 Rs will not vote for this bill either.

It is all on Trump and the hardline immigration wonks (Miller in the WH, Cotton and Perdue in the Senate).  Remember, this wouldn't have been an issue.  Trump said he would sign a compromise bill - one that protect Dreamers and bolstered border security/changed the legal immigration rules and numbers.  He got a clean bill one from Schumer and Graham.  Then the wonks stepped in, and convinced him it was a bad deal (and he decided to add fuel to the fire through his comments on people from Africa and Haiti).

Also remember that helping the Dreamers and the CHIP program were not an issue (they are both highly popular), until Trump decided to use them as "bargaining chips." No one in Congress has had a problem with the CHIP program since its inception over 20 years ago... until Trump.

Even McConnell and Ryan have no idea what he wants as he keeps changing his mind.

This is besides the fact that the Rs, again, abdicated all responsibility by focusing on the ACA and tax bill (without any public hearings, input from any expert on the effects or any D amendment and letting lobbyists write almost all of the bills and voting on the bills within hours of providing it to Congress) instead of taking care of the required business of government - i.e., keeping it running.

This is not normal.

And it is the Rs fault - they control all avenues of the government and could have avoided this easily by simply working with the other side. They have neither set a budget nor worked with the Ds on any sort of compromise.  And now they want to blame the Ds for not completely capitulating.

WiltonDiary wrote on January 19, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Thank you, I couldn't have said it better!

However, Donald JUDAS Trump a pathological liar, admitted sexual preator and GREATEST NEGOTIATIOR in the world has failed as POTUS.

TRUMP slips on his own banana peels everyday loves getting spanked by hookers but blames Hillary Obama and/or the Democrats.for his sad presidency!

All this winning is a cancer on the USA. 

Save the Farms wrote on January 19, 2018 at 9:01 pm

Schumer's shutdown is a big yawn - Paul Ryan was correct to send the folks of the House home for the weekend.

Essential services will continue and unlike Obama, Trump has vowed not to weaponize the shutdown to make it unduly annoying.

Illinois had no budget for two years and we survived - the Federal government can do likewise. 

The problem will eventually be resolved as if this drags on, then folks in the DACA and Dreamers category will be deported.

The Republican goals are reasonable.  DACA represents about 800,000 people, the Dreamers, maybe 3 million and all illegals, 11 million.  Analysis of chain migration indicates that about 20 people result from a single immigrant once all the immigrations shake out (takes many years obviously).  This could mean 16 million for DACA, 60 million for the Dreamers and 220 million for all illegals.  I doubt anyone would argue our country would "survive" if we added 220 million. 

Of the 33 million immigrants admitted to the US from 1981 to 2010, 20 million (61%) resulted from chain migration so we well could see immigration from every other country crowded out if some sort of reasonable limits are not imposed.



APC wrote on January 20, 2018 at 7:01 am

Let's try calling this what it is - the Trump-McConnell-Ryan shutdown.  The Rs have shown they cannot govern on the big stage.  They, once again, have refused to meet with their D counterparts and cannot even muster the votes for (yet another) temporary spending bill.

Trump's vows are, as usual, worth the paper they are written on.  He has been the one, if you can remember over the last couple of weeks even saying that a shutdown would be good for the country.  He is the one who caused this immediate situation.

Illinois had no budget for 2 years and see what happened - credit downgrades, massive further increase in debt, companies out of business for (even more untimely) payments.

Do you not get the point that you are in the minority? The vast majority of the folks in this country (I believe the latest polls are in the 70-80%) want to help the DACA people and Dreamers, who are contributing positively to the country and who are here through no fault of their own. It is simply cruel and short-sighted to send them to countries they never knew and have no ties to. And what do you think will be the ultimate result? The US loses talented, hardworking and educated people, and the people deported encounter unwarranted hardships/death and harbour animosity towards the US for the rest of their lives. At least some of these people, desperate and feeling abandoned, will likely turn to extremism, and potentially terrrorism (these are, in fact, the issues that psychologists have identified as being the defining factors for turning someone into an extremist) - and against which country will these people be directed? Talk about a lose-lose-lose caused by one's own blindness and hatred of "those people."

A few comments about the latest buzz word "chain migration" - your numbers are very skewed and do not at all take into account timing.  It takes, on average, 10+ years (up to 25 years) to bring one family member into the US; unlike the BS that Trump spouts, it is a long and complicated process (like the visa lottery, which is a lottery to apply, and after which, if you win, you still have to go through years of vetting).  Chain migration accounts for about 1/4 million a year and is legal, acting as a part of the legal quota, and is mostly children and spouses.  Image being separated from your spouse or child for 10+ years.  As usual, Trump and the Rs make a boogyman out of nothing. 

Save the Farms wrote on January 20, 2018 at 10:01 am

It's 83% of the country that wants to help the DACA illegals - which includes me.  On average, each immigrant spaws sponsors 3.45 others (and these folks sponsor 3.45 - rises to 20 quickly - that why 61% of all immigrants are sponsored family members of previous immigrants).

A right to stay, work and contribute until their time comes in the normal immigration flow, sure, seems reasonable and pretty much what is being offered for the DACA illegals.  Some limit on chain migration also seems reasonable as even the DACA folks can recognize that their illegal presence, though no fault of their own, shouldn't mean they can sponsor ahead of others. 

A majority of Americans aren't sponsoring immigrants - it's recent immigrants that do most of this.  It is reasonable for the bulk to have a say in how immigration proceeds and the bulk want DACA illegals helped, wants limits on chair migration and wants overall limits of around 500,000 - equal to 12.5% of the 4 million natural born citizens.



Citizen1 wrote on January 20, 2018 at 12:01 pm

You are exactly right.  The chain has got to be limited.  Largely, the Dems don’t want to do that as this group predominantly votes Dem.  Legal or not!  See the local case.  This country can’t support everyone while they spend decades and generations “getting on their feet”.

APC wrote on January 20, 2018 at 12:01 pm

I agree that placing reasonable limits on such immigration would not be unreasonable.  Given that, it is pretty normal to want one's loved ones (spouse/child) to join you.  As above, it usually take a really long time to bring relatives in as well.

I also disagree with the above.  I think that all rational people (Ds or Rs) recognize that reasonable limits should be placed on chain migration.  In fact, part of the bipartisan compromise actually addressed this - but was rejected by the immigration hardliners in the Senate and WH and thus Trump.  I think you are projecting in your assessment of the Ds - as shown by the bill offered by Durbin, they do not run the party (all the time at least).

Save the Farms wrote on January 20, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Since we're mostly agreeing, let's hope the message gets back to Washington - nice discussion...thank you. :)

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on January 20, 2018 at 11:01 am

Amazing!  The Editorial Board managed to completely ignore the $21B white elephant that Trump is still insisting on.  I believe the initial funds for that ridiculousness were included in the bill that Trump wanted.......hmm?  

It used to be that most of the Republicans I knew were fiscal conservatives and liked to spew profusely regarding how Democrats love to spend money on foolish programs and ventures.  Well, Trump's wall would be the biggest taxpayer supported boondoggle in history.......and yet, these same fiscal conservatives *cough* are now so silent that you can hear the crickets chirping. 

BruckJr wrote on January 20, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Rather than label the 'shutdown' a furlough for federal workers why not label it a paid vacation for these folks.  They will receive their pay at some point.  These folks are no more disappointed than school kids on a snow day.