How did we get into this situation, where on the 21st
day of a partial government shutdown, the congressional constitutional power of
the ‘purse strings’, appears to be being run and in control of the executive
branch under President Trump?
The current partial government shutdown is the result of The
House of Representatives passing a continuing resolution legislative bill on
December 22, 2018 to fund part of the government without the $5.7 billion
requested by the administration, under President Trump, for a border wall or
border barrier with Mexico.
(Apparently, border barrier sounds a lot nicer than the phrase border wall.)
Since then no progress has been made on passing the funding and the effected
parts of the government are still shutdown with only essential personal
working, for no pay. It is bad enough that 800,000 government workers are not
getting paid; it is worse that about 420,000 of those have been deemed
essential and have to work without pay.
This is about to become the longest government shutdown due
to a no funding bill. At the moment it looks like no progress is being made
towards a resolution of the situation. While there was a meeting a few days ago
with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and
President Trump on Wednesday, January 9, 2019; the meeting apparently lasted
only a few minutes and ended with President Trump walking out of the meeting
after being told by the other two that there would be no deal on a border wall.
Of course, if a proper budget had been passed along with debt ceiling increase
at the start of the fiscal year, then we would not be in this situation.
The possible outcomes are, assuming there is a resolution to
the situation and it does not drag on indefinitely are:
1: Congress gives in to President Trump and passes a funding
bill that includes the $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. At the moment
it does not look like this will happen because of the fact it would make the
Democrat party look very bad politically. This is a big problem for the
Democrat party, especially with since it was only just last week that the
Democrat party took control of the House of Representatives. To end up giving in to President Trump and
passing funding for a border wall after vowing not to would make it look like
the party was unable to get anything done.
2: Congress passes a funding bill with enough of a majority
that they are able to override any veto by President Trump. In order to do
this, both houses of the 116th Congress would need to pass such a
funding bill by two thirds or more; meaning that it would require all of the
Democrats plus independents plus get a number of the Republicans in each house
to go along with the funding bill. This means that 54 Republicans in the House
of Representatives and 20 Republicans in the Senate would need to vote with the
Democrats to override any potential President Trump veto.
At the moment, between the two options, I see the only
possibility of any funding passing is that the Democrat party decides to fold
and pass the $5.7 billion in funding. For whatever reason, there appears to be
absolutely no progress on any front with the pressure on individual
congressional representatives growing every day. This is the case, especially
with today being another day that a number of government workers were not paid
plus all of the other problems and fall out from the partial shutdown.
I think it would be best for the Democrat party is they
agree to fund the $5.7 billion in exchange for something of equal political
value in order to resolve this situation and get all parts of the government
open and working again.
One thought that does occur to me is that if a proper budget
had been passed before the start of the current fiscal year on October 1, 2018
along with any needed debt ceiling increase, that we would not find ourselves
in this situation.
Hopefully, before another week passes and the effected
800,000 government workers miss another paycheck, there will be a resolution
and everything will be back to normal.
Good Luck and Take Care,
Louis J. Desy Jr.
Friday, January 11, 2019