November 29, 2018

Deja Vu All Over Again

Trump threatens to shut down the government, again

by Chris Thomas

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

It’s winter again which means it’s time for sledding, hot chocolate, and petulant threats to shutdown the government over a wall that Mexico was totally going to pay for.

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Google searches for “government shutdown” since Trump was inaugurated

Once again, Congress needs to pass a short term government funding bill because, despite controlling the Presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court, Republicans are somehow completely unable to pass a real budget.

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Actually, that’s not fair. The Senate’s rules are written to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The majority in the chamber has a tool called “Budget Reconciliation” which it can use to pass legislation over the objections of the minority. No filibuster. No obstruction. No debate.

The problem is, the Republicans already used that tool — to pass their tax cut.

So now, nearly a year later with the Federal Government on the brink of a shutdown, the chickens are coming home to roost. Reconciliation is a limited-use tool and Republicans already chose their tax cut over actually running the government.

What does that mean

It means that Democrats finally have the opportunity that they were denied back during the tax cut fight: to negotiate with the GOP in good faith.

Come January, a new House will be sworn in and the Republican Senate and President Trump will have no choice but to consider the budgets that the Democratic House submits. Up or down, yes or no — once the 116th House is seated, Democrats will control what goes into those budgets.

Which means that the negotiation position of the Senate Democrats right now is very, very strong. Republicans need nine Democrats to keep the government open.

Nine Democrats who will have to vote to fund Trump’s wall.

Nine Democrats who will have to vote to fund the imprisonment of children in tent-city prison camps.

Nine Democrats who will have to vote to fund Trump’s multi-million-dollar Trump-branded golf staycations.

And those Democrats can — and should — demand a hefty political price for their votes, such as…

Protect Mueller

The Senate still hasn’t voted on a bill to protect the Mueller investigation. Meanwhile, Michael Cohen is back in court to plead guilty to even more crimes, the President is tweeting images of Rod Rosenstein behind bars, and the (illegally appointed) acting Attorney General is someone openly hostile to the investigation.

Mueller's office would continue working in the event of a government shutdown

Protect Dreamers

The Trump administration still hasn’t worked out a plan to protect children who crossed the border with their parents. Living under the constant threat of deportation from the only home many have ever known is intolerable.

What Dreamers May Come

Fund Disaster Relief

California is still burning and while the power is back on in Puerto Rico (finally) the island is still on weak footing. It’s been basically forever since Flint had clean water and the list just goes on and on and on.

Puerto Rico Is Drowning

Address the Opioid Epidemic

Despite promising to do something about the drug epidemic that’s killing rural America, the Trump administration has done almost nothing. Meaningful measures to actually combat the opioid problem, including reigning in the pharmaceutical companies profiting from it, could go a long way towards winning Democratic support.

Too Little Too Late

Tell Congress What You Think

Do some of those demands sound familiar? They should; back in January when we last had this fight, Democrats were demanding much the same things. The difference this time is that Republicans know that 2019 brings a new Congress, a new House, and a much tougher budget fight. You can write to your government by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to make a difference.

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