Monday, April 24, 2017

Now that they are running the show


The Republican Congress has not exactly gotten off to a grand start and the thought of a government shutdown that would lie entirely upon their shoulders has them very nervous.
After their already shaky start, it is hard to imagine Republicans would want to top off a chaotic first 100 days of unified government control with a disruptive federal government shutdown.

But that astounding scenario remains a live possibility this week as lawmakers and the Trump White House have so far been unable to agree on a plan to fund the government beyond Friday despite months of staring at the hard April 28 deadline. It is an unsettling but not unfamiliar position for congressional Republicans who have forced government closures in the past and know well that they will be assigned the brunt of the blame if federal agencies are shuttered yet again.

Should a shutdown occur, this one would have a defining new wrinkle. The politically charged spending fights that closed the government during the Clinton and Obama administrations were the product of clashes between congressional Republicans and a Democratic White House in a sharply divided Washington. Today, Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and allowing the federal government to go dark on their watch might be hard to explain.

“Our Republican colleagues know that since they control, you know, the House, the Senate and the White House, that a shutdown would fall on their shoulders, and they don’t want it,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

Republican leaders from President Trump on down insist they are determined to avoid a shutdown and will be successful in doing so. Failure would put a bizarre exclamation point on the symbolic 100-day marker that the administration coincidentally will reach Saturday.

“No one wants a shutdown,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, told reporters on Friday. “We want to keep it going.”

Republicans have good reason for doing so considering that history shows the party image takes a beating with the public when government agencies lock their doors, national parks refuse visitors and federal workers are told not to report to work. Democrats, while not victorious in special House elections held so far, have shown renewed strength, and a shutdown in the early days of Republican stewardship of Washington would only fuel their energy.
In addition to the usual difficulties agreeing in money, Congress has to deal with The Tangerine Shitgibbon demanding money for his beautiful fence.
“Elections have consequences,” Mick Mulvaney, the former House conservative who is now the head of the Office of Management and Budget, told The Associated Press in an interview. He offered Democrats a deal: The administration would support continued subsidies for millions of people receiving health insurance through the Affordable Care Act in exchange for Democrats agreeing to the initial wall funding.

Mr. Schumer called that proposal a nonstarter. Other Democrats suggested they saw no reason to accept that offer because Republicans are separately but simultaneously trying to unravel the health care program. They also believe that if White House refusal to fund the subsidies caused a collapse of the health insurance market, Republicans would get the political blame for that upheaval, as well.
So Republicans have every reason to keep the government running except for their reasons for holding out. Or to put it another way, there aren't enoughRepublicans who like what is being done and not enough Democrats willing to go along.

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