Tag Archives: government shutdown

Now it’s the GOP’s fault, yes?

I don’t know how this latest federal budget showdown is going to play out.

Still, I am wondering about how the president is going to assess responsibility if the government shuts down for the second time in a month.

The culprit this time might be Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican who has put a hold on the Senate deal that sets a budget for two years. Paul, one of those staunch fiscal conservatives, hates the budget because it spends too much money. Never mind that it is a truly bipartisan effort.

So he’s delaying a Senate vote, delaying another vote in the House of Representatives, delaying a budget going to the president’s desk — and getting his signature.

Donald Trump was quite quick to blame Democrats for the earlier government shutdown. Will the president be as quick to blame a fellow Republican for this latest government cluster flip?

The president endorsed the Senate deal worked out by bipartisan leaders in the upper chamber, even though he had said the previous day he would “shut the government down” if Congress didn’t come up with a deal to stiffen border security.

Now he’s getting torpedoed by one of his own GOP allies — because i spends too much money.

This ain’t good government, folks.

Which is it: shutdown or deal on budget?

On one day, the president of the United States declared there would be a government shutdown if Congress didn’t come to a decision on an immigration package that secured our borders.

That is that. No deal, no government. “I would love a shutdown” if there’s no deal to build a wall. “Without borders, we don’t have a country,” Donald Trump declared.

The next day, U.S. Senate Democratic and Republican leaders cobbled together a budget deal that funds the government for two years. It’s a bipartisan agreement. Oh, and it doesn’t have any money for the wall the president wants to build across our southern border.

No worries, said the president. He’ll sign it if it gets to his desk.

So, which is it? Does the president want the wall or does he want to fund the government and avoid a shutdown that could occur later this week?

Honestly, I prefer the second version of the president’s current view. I believe he should sign the bill if it clears the House of Representatives, which at the moment is going through a revolt among members of its most conservative members. They hate the bill because it spends too much money and, yes, doesn’t include money for the wall or other border security measures.

They call themselves “fiscal hawks.” They say the Republican Party no longer can claim to be the party of “fiscal responsibility.”

Here’s what I hope happens. The House agrees on the Senate bill, they send it to the White House, the president signs it and then all sides — Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the president — get to work immediately on resolving the issue of immigration.

A viable government needs to proceed without the imminent threat of shutting down.

I am one taxpaying American citizen who is damn tired of this Band-Aid policy of running the government.

Can we just agree to keep the entire federal government functioning and serving all Americans while our representatives do what they were elected to do?

It is called “governing.”

Trump would ‘love a shutdown’?

Donald Trump would “love” a shutdown of the federal government.

He’d love it. He said it many times today during a White House meeting on gang violence. The president, quite naturally, blames Democrats if a shutdown occurs. Democrats, he said, oppose border security; they oppose benefits for the military. Democrats are nasty. They’re “un-American” because they didn’t clap for him while he delivered “really good news” during the president’s State of the Union speech the other day.

The president really should not want a shutdown of the government, as Republican U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock told him during the gang violence meeting. “Both sides” learned that a shutdown hurts them, and the public doesn’t like it one damn bit, she said.

Ah, but the president still would “love” a shutdown.

This is how you “tell it like it is,” right? Trump is the first president in my memory who has said — in effect — that he would favor a shutting down of the government he was elected to administer.

To what end do we close offices and deny taxpayers the full service from the government for which they pay? To build a wall across our southern border.

This is not how you govern, Mr. President. Honest.

Oh, and about the special counsel …

Robert Mueller is back in the news.

While our attention was yanked away while we watched Congress and the president writhe and wriggle over immigration and funding the government, the special counsel’s office was busy interviewing players in Donald John Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

We now have learned that Mueller interviewed fired FBI director James Comey sometime this past year. Mueller’s legal team has talked to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

What’s on the special counsel’s mind? He is looking for answers to the Big Question: Did the Trump campaign collude with Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome?

Sessions was a key campaign adviser while serving in the U.S. Senate. Comey — as you no doubt recall — led the FBI while it looked into the e-mail use matter involving Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton; then he turned his sights on the “Russia thing,” before he was fired in May 2017 by the president.

Mueller is trying to ascertain, reportedly, whether Comey’s firing, along with the dismissal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was meant to obstruct justice, impede the Russia meddling probe.

Gosh, who could be next on Mueller’s call list? Oh, I know! How about the president himself?

Trump says the investigation into collusion is a big fat nothing. He calls it a witch hunt. He blames it all on Democrats, the “fake media” and other critics of him and his administration.

Here’s a thought: If the president’s phone rings and it’s Robert Mueller on the other end of the call, the president ought to agree on the spot to meet with him — if what he says about the veracity of the probe is true.

If not, well … then we have a problem. Isn’t that right, Mr. President?

Put yourself in their shoes

Let’s play a game of “Pretend” for just a moment or two.

Pretend you’re one of the millions of Americans working for the federal government. Pretend you’ve invested your entire professional life in service to others; you believe with all your heart in public service.

Pretend that you work for the park service, or you are on the medical staff of a Veterans Administration hospital unit. Pretend you answer phones at a government agency and direct callers to the person to whom they want to speak.

Pretend you’re wearing a military uniform, that you’re one of about 1.5 million Americans who take an oath to protect the rest of us from our enemies around the world.

How in the world do you feel today knowing that your federal government — your Congress and your president — cannot agree on a long-term federal budget that pays you to keep performing your public service?

If it were me, I’d be damn angry! I would be upset that I cannot plan for the future. I would be angry that I cannot know for certain whether I’ll be able to stay at my post beyond the next short-term deadline that Congress has just approved.

That’s what is staring those millions of public servants in the face. Congress has slapped another Band-Aid on an open wound. It has sent the package to the desk of the president of the United States. Donald Trump will sign it.

Then those dedicated public servants — those who serve you and me — get to wait until Feb. 8 for what might occur. That’s when this current budget resolution expires.

This is a crock! It’s a travesty in the extreme! The men and women who serve us deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. They damn sure deserve it from the yahoos who serve in Congress. And those clowns won’t forgo their pay. They do not face the prospect of furloughs. They don’t have to worry about their financial future.

Oh, no! They’ll just keep on keepin’ on.

The government is going to reopen. It will stay open at least until Feb. 8. Then what? Will we get to go through more of the same nonsense we’ve just experienced?

The millions of Americans who sign up to serve us deserve far better than they’re getting from the policymakers who cannot do their job.

Hold the applause and the back-slapping, Congress

I swear I could hear — even way out here in Flyover Country — the sounds of cheers, backslapping and high-fiving on Capitol Hill.

The U.S. Senate this morning approved a measure that funds the government all … the … way until Feb. 8.

Great, huh? Well, not even close.

The House of Representatives now gets this measure. House members will follow suit. Then it will head to the White House, where Donald John “Dealmaker in Chief” Trump will sign it into law.

What got the deal done? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to allow debate on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals status in exchange for reopening the federal government that had been shuttered since midnight Friday.

Oh, brother. What a sham!

The president said in September he wanted to disband DACA, but gave Congress until March to find a legislative solution. Congress didn’t get there. Then came the government shutdown game of chicken.

Neither side blinked when the money ran out. The government closed its doors. The blame game commenced.

Now we have Senate Republicans crowing that they got Democrats to accept most of their demands.

To what end? We have yet another temporary repair. Then we get to have another face-off — maybe, perhaps, possibly — on Feb. 8.

DACA screams loudly for a resolution. It involves the status of U.S. residents who came here illegally when they were brought here — as children — by their parents or legal guardians. These young men and women do not deserve to be shipped back to the country of their origin, countries they do not know; they grew up as Americans.

The Trump re-election campaign poisoned the discussion over the weekend by releasing a TV ad that declares Democrats would be culpable if an illegal immigrant commits murder, saying that Democrats would have blood on their hands.

So, here we stand. We’re likely to get the government reopened. DACA will return to the bargaining table. Senators and House members are proud of themselves because they worked hard all weekend to find a solution.

However, it’s another short-term fix.

We need something that we can call the “law of the land.” We need to end this gamesmanship. We need a government that works.

When we arrive at that point, then we can break out the bubbly.

Geniuses surrender to idiots

Bill Cassidy has produced — to my mind — the most memorable quote from the current government shutdown/game of chicken.

The nation, said the Louisiana Republican U.S. senator over the weekend, was “founded by geniuses but is being governed by idiots.”

You go, Sen. Cassidy!

Sen. Cassidy faces his critics

Yes, the idiots have taken over. The men and women who comprise the Congress, along with the individual who sits in the White House, cannot govern the greatest nation on Earth.

Oh, no! They are bound up in a fight over a spending bill. They cannot settle their disagreements over how to control illegal immigration. The people caught in the grip of this government sausage grinder happen to be individuals who were brought here as children when their parents sneaked into the country illegally.

Republican hard liners cannot find it in what passes for their heart to extend protections for those so-called “Dreamers.” These folks were raised in the United States; this is the only country they know. But the GOP “base” wants to send them back to their country of origin?

What the hell … ?

As a result, the government is now officially paralyzed.

The idiot in chief — the president — can’t decide whether to approve an extension of those protections. He is getting pressure from his GOP base.

I continue to believe that this is the Trump Shutdown. He is joined by the idiots in Congress. I won’t assign all the blame to just one party. There’s plenty of blame to go along.

However, we have just a single president. He is The Man. He has an entire nation as his constituency. Not all of us approve of the way he is running the government; indeed, more of us voted for the other major-party candidate than for the guy who actually won.

Where in the world are the geniuses?

Is this the work of a ‘fraud’?

I wasn’t looking for proof of a political accusation, but one has presented itself anyway.

In 2016, former Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney peeled the bark off the party’s primary frontrunner when he called Donald John Trump Sr. a “fraud” and a “phony.”

I thought at the time that the 2012 GOP nominee was talking exclusively about Trump’s penchant for bellicosity and insults. However, in the past few days, some things have come into sharper focus.

The president campaigned for office proclaiming his immense skill as a deal maker. He promised time and time again on the stump that he’d make the “best deals” in the history of humankind … or words to that effect. He vowed that the nation no longer would be snookered into falling for “bad deals.”

Well, here we are. One year into Trump’s time in office, the nation’s government is shut down. The president has been unable to deliver on one of those fundamental promises of his winning presidential campaign. He hasn’t cut any deal at all, let alone any bad deals.

I guess I can presume that’s what Mitt meant when he called Trump a “fraud.”

The late, great heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali used to say about his predictions about when he’d knock his foes out that “It ain’t braggin’ if you do it.”

Donald Trump needs to quit braggin’ if he can’t deliver the goods.

It’s all about compromise, stupid!

Good government requires compromise.

Past presidents have known it. So have members of Congress — from both political parties. The rigid ideologues — either on the left or the right — might sleep well at night knowing that they hold firm to their principles. But the rest of us pay the price.

So it is with the current government shutdown that commenced at midnight Friday.

As I understand it, Democratic leaders in Congress have agreed to give Donald Trump money to build that wall he wants to erect on our southern border. They have demanded something in return: a commitment to avoiding the deportation of thousands of U.S. residents who came to this country as children when their parents brought them here illegally.

OK, then. Republicans get the wall; Democrats get to keep the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals rule.

Both sides give a little to the other.

Isn’t that how it works? Sure it is!

Meanwhile, the president who touts himself as a supreme deal-maker keeps changing his mind. He wants a deal to protect DACA recipients because he loves them. Then he feels the heat from the ideologues within his Republican Party who want to toss them out.

As for Democratic leaders, they, too are feeling the heat from their ideologues who want nothing to do with a wall.

I tend to favor the lefties on this one. However, I want the government to reopen fully. I also want compromise to rule the day. I want our elected leaders to do the job we sent them to Washington to do: I want them to govern effectively.

I do not believe in rigid ideology. I am now 68 years of age. The older I get the more room I seek to maneuver for the cause of good government.

Give a little. Declare victory. Open the doors to our government — for which we are paying good money!

 

By all means, it’s the ‘Trump Shutdown’

A headline on Politico.com sought to say how media outlets are “struggling” to assign blame for the current shutdown of the federal government.

Are you kidding me? I know who’s to blame. Someone just needed to ask me.

It’s Donald John “Deal Maker in Chief” Trump Sr.! He’s the man. He’s the one. He’s the guy who’s got to shoulder the blame.

How do I know that? Because the president of the United States laid the previous shutdown, which occurred in 2013, at the feet of Barack H. Obama, his presidential predecessor.

He said the president has to lead. He’s the one elected by the entire country. The president has to step up, take charge, bring members of Congress to the White House, clunk their heads together and tell ’em shape up, settle their differences and get the government running again.

Trump said all that. He was right.

But now that Trump is the man in charge, he has retreated into the background. Trump is pointing fingers at Democrats. He says they are to blame solely for the shutdown.

Give me a break!

A president is supposed to lead. We elect presidents to run the government. They stand head and shoulders above the 100 senators and 435 House members. When the government shudders and then closes its doors, we turn to the president to show us the way back to normal government functionality.

Donald Trump hasn’t yet shown up to lead the government out of its darkness.

Who’s to blame? It’s the guy who called it in 2013.

This is Trump’s Shutdown. Pure and simple.

If only he’d kept his trap shut when he was a mere commercial real estate mogul and reality TV host …