Day 34 Of Shutdown And Government Shows Signs Of Strain

Ken AshfordGubmint Shutdown, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

All it will take is one plane crash — it doesn’t even have to be a major one — and it’s a whole new ballgame.

Five former Department of Homeland Security Secretaries — including John Kelly (Trump’s former Chief of Staff) signed a letter calling on Trump and Congress to fund the agency to relieve DHS national security personnel from their financial hardship.

“This is unconscionable.”

The pressure is more on Trump than anybody else. And why not? The executive branch is the only branch responsible for keeping the trains running.

A new AP-NORC poll shows most Americans see the shutdown as a major problem, and they blame Trump far more than congressional Democrats for the mess that has ensnared the lives of roughly 800,000 government workers who are going without pay.

Sixty percent of Americans say Trump bears a great deal of responsibility for the shutdown. About a third place the same amount of blame on congressional Democrats (31 percent) or Republicans (36 percent).

Sixty-five percent of Americans, including 86 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents and 33 percent of Republicans, call the shutdown a major problem.

Trump may be popular overall with Republicans, but a sizable share holds him responsible for the current situation. Almost 3 in 10 Republicans think Trump bears a great deal of responsibility, while 73 percent of his party says he’s at least partly responsible.

This is undoubtedly true…


The shutdown will go on.

Competing proposals to reopen the federal government each garnered majority support in the Senate on Thursday afternoon, but both failed to secure the necessary 60 votes to break an impasse that has dragged on for more than a month and cut off pay for 800,000 public employees.
The votes were technically procedural in nature, to end debate and move to final passage on both measures. But their twin defeat sent the same sobering message: More than a month of shuttered federal agencies and a mounting financial toll on well over 1 million employees and contractors have not been enough to forge consensus or a compromise in the Republican-led Senate. Bills passed by the Democratic majority in the House to reopen government have gone nowhere. President Donald Trump has not relented in his demand for money for a border wall, and Republicans, frustrated though they are by the president and by alarming poll numbers, have stood by him.

In Thursday’s votes, Democrats blocked President Donald Trump’s proposal to trade protections for some undocumented immigrants for the $5.7 billion he has demanded in funding for a border wall, while Republicans largely held the line against a Democratic bid for a two-week break in the shutdown to buy time for more negotiations. There were notable cracks in the GOP position: Six Republicans broke with the party to back the Democratic proposal that would have reopened the government, in addition to supporting the president’s failed plan.

The votes Thursday were the first the Senate has taken to reopen the government since the 34-day shutdown began on December 22. Yet the political dynamic has barely budged. The same GOP lawmakers who have been saying they would consider legislation to reopen the government without funding for the border wall—Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—voted for both measures on Thursday. They were joined by Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, as well as by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the centrist Democrat who was the only member of his party to back both Trump’s plan and the short-term alternative. The GOP defections were short of the 13 needed for the bill to clear a filibuster, but they ensured that the Democratic proposal secured more support in the Republican-controlled chamber than Trump’s. Two conservative Republicans, Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, voted against both amendments.

The outcome on Thursday was expected, although enough Republicans kept quiet about their plans for the Democratic proposal to lend the afternoon a bit of drama. The House left town for the weekend earlier in the day, as the chamber’s Democrats displayed little confidence that they would be needed to send a bill to Trump’s desk.

The clean stopgap funding bill — the one that passed the House and was proposed by Schumer — got more votes than Trump’s proposal. In a Republican-run Senate.