On day 30 and counting, it’s the longest partial government shutdown in US history, surpassing the previous record 21-day shutdown in 1995-96.
It began over Republicans’ pledge to balance the budget, part of the so-called Newt Gingrich/Dick Armey “Contract with America.” It ended when polls showed public opinion turned against the GOP, blaming Republicans more than Dems.
Things are similar today, polls showing the same thing – over half of Americans blaming Republicans and Trump for the shutdown, less than a third blaming Dems, around 13% blaming both parties.
What’s going on is a political standoff unrelated to national security. No border crisis exist. Nothing ever justifies shutting down government in whole or in part.
It’s left hundreds of thousands of civil servants and other government workers unemployed or forced to work without pay while shutdown continues – backpay to come when things end.
Both sides of the aisle and Trump share blame for what’s going on – no quick resolution coming without compromise, the way most disputes end.
Shutdown harms millions of ordinary Americans. Over 40 million food stamp recipients may stop receiving benefits without resolution. Women, Infants, and Children benefits expire next month in most states.
Other vital services are jeopardized. Unpaid workers face a greater struggle to get by, many living from paycheck to paycheck. The longer shutdown continues, the worse things get for millions of Americans with no dog in this fight.
On Saturday, Trump partially blinked, proposing an end to shutdown. In exchange for what’s explained, he offered three-year protection for aliens given Temporary Protected Status, as well as hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants entering America as minors, so-called “Dreamers” – a version of so-called Bridge Act legislation, introduced in the 115th Congress but not enacted.
Around 800,000 are enrolled in the program created by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation. Trump’s proposal includes the following:
- $5.7 billion for 230 miles border wall construction 230 in high-priority areas;
- $800 million in urgent humanitarian aid;
- $805 million for drug detection technology along the southern border with Mexico;
- 2,750 more border agents and law enforcement professionals;
- 75 new immigration judge teams;
- DACA and TPS extensions explained above; and
- family reunification for unaccompanied alien minors.
Ahead of his Saturday address, House Speaker Pelosi rejected his proposal, a statement, saying in part:
“Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border.”
“Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”
“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter. For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”
Stalemate continues, both sides seeking political advantage at the expense of ordinary Americans and the economy if things drag on too long.
Dems complained they weren’t consulted about Trump’s proposal, reportedly something he, Pence, son-in-law Kushner, and congressional leaders cooked up.
With polls favoring where Dems stand on the shutdown, they’re benefitting at the expense of Trump and Republicans, why they’re unwilling to compromise.
They’re doing whatever it takes to undermine him, aiming to defeat his 2020 reelection bid or remove him earlier by impeachment – requiring proof of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
No US president was ever removed from office this way. John Adams once said taking this step would cause a national convulsion.
Efforts to remove a sitting president are politically motivated, unrelated to the rule of law. The Dem controlled House may or may not impeach Trump. The GOP Senate won’t likely oust him.
Actions by members of both parties aim for an advantage in 2020. Of immediate concern is ending partial government shutdown.
Dems aren’t willing to compromise as long as polls favor them in this fight over Trump and Republicans. Shutdown may drag on much longer.
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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Featured image is from Cambria Press