Congress needs to do something in the next two weeks or the “government shuts down”, whatever that means. The government wouldn’t actually cease to function, but some services could be curtailed. The last time this happened was in October of 2013, and the Obama administration tried to make it painful, in order to pressure the Republicans in Congress. Remember those pictures of WW II vets being denied access to public memorials in D.C.?
Every government shutdowns has its own dynamic. There were five under Carter, but the disruption they caused was minor. He had a Democratic House and Senate, and no one wanted to create a mess. His successor, Bush 1, vetoed a Continuing Resolution in 1990 because it was not accompanied by a deficit reduction package. When a veto override failed, the Congress, under complete Democratic control, quickly passed another CR along with the package Bush had demanded. It was no big deal. His son, big spender Bush 2, had no shutdowns.
So when we think of shutdowns, we think of those under Clinton and Obama — a Democratic President dealing with a Republican controlled Congress. It was Clinton and Obama who shut down the government. Only the President can do that. They both wanted more money from a Republican Congress, and they both soon got their way.
Now we have a Republican Congress and a Republican President, and the minority Senate Democrats are threatening to filibuster a spending bill, and cause a “government shutdown”. They demand not only that no funding for the border wall be included, but that more money be committed to Obamacare.
Let me suggest that such a “government shutdown” today would be almost totally different from the Clinton and Obama experiences. Yes, one thing would remain the same: it’s all the fault of unreasonable Republicans. Mitch McConnell was so terrified of being blamed for a shutdown, he unconditionally surrendered Congress’ power of the purse the day after the 2014 election that made him Senate Majority Leader. But Trump has shown that you can defy the media, and if the Republicans don’t have the courage to do it, they will be forever revealed as spineless wretches.
Let’s think this through. Six months ago the Democrats lost the White House, the Senate, and the House. Yet, from their minority position in the Senate, they will shut the government down if the duly elected President, along with elected majorities in the House and Senate, want to spend money the Democrats don’t want to spend on a wall? And, furthermore, they will also shut down the government if they don’t get the additional spending on Obamacare?
Democrat tails wagging Republican dogs.
As President, Trump can minimize the impact of a “shutdown” by executive order, creative accounting, and generous interpretations of the law. Very few people need be affected by a shutdown. If Trump and the Republicans let an hysterical media force them to spend money they don’t want to, and give them a veto over spending, it’s over.
The Democrats have no power in Washington, except the power of the press. I know Trump is trying to be kinder and gentler, but if he caves here he’s weaker than George H. W. Bush was. There is one institution more unpopular than Trump, and that’s Congress. And that’s who he needs to fight, in the person of Chuck Schumer, a man more unlikable than he is.
I mean, if you can’t handle Schumer, what kind of a man are you?