Deal To End The Partial Government Shutdown Reached

            President Trump, in a live announcement broadcast from the White House around 2:20pm today, announced an end to the partial government shutdown that has gone on for the past 35 days. The deal is that a bill will be signed to open all of the government for the next three weeks, and pay all back pay, while more negotiations take place on the budget and ‘border security’. The expectation is that some part of the final deal will involved a border barrier in some areas as part of funding for the department of Homeland Security border package.

            President Trump claimed that he never asked for or wanted a total barrier from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans, but some supporters may have thought that was what “Build the Wall” campaign slogan meant and expected. It is possible that Trump’s political base may insist on such a barrier going forward and make it harder to complete any deal in the future that does not result in such a full sea to sea border barrier.

            While not much in the way of specific details were provided in the announcement, at least some kind of deal has been made to keep negotiating , open all parts of the government, and pay all government workers while a final deal is negotiated.

            President Trump did say that if nothing was done about a border barrier then there could be another shutdown when the current partial funding ran out in three weeks on February 15.

            Hopefully, there will not be another one of these government shutdowns and all parties can work together to keep the government operating as it should be.

Good Luck and Take Care,

Louis J. Desy Jr.

Friday, January 25, 2019

LouisDesyJr@gmail.com

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Day 21 of the Government Shutdown

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

LouisDesyJr@gmail.com

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Would Economic Development Be a Better Use for Mexico Border Wall Funds?

            As I write this, 2pm on Saturday, December 29, 2018, parts of the US Government are still shutdown from since December 22 due to not passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund all of the government, that includes funds for a border wall with Mexico. While the House of Representatives did pass a CR with some border wall funds, there has been no vote in the Senate, plus the President has said that he would not sign any bill that did not have the border wall funds of around $5 billion. At the moment, it does not even look or sound like there are any negotiations even going on to resolve the impasse between the administration and Congress.

            While this has all been going on, it occurred to me that maybe a better use of boarder wall funds would be a program of development for the areas of Mexico that are next to the border with the US so that people would be able to find work in Mexico and not want and/or need to somehow get into the United States to survive. A border wall with Mexico, if and when built, will not really do much to help anyone get a job or develop anything and even cost money to maintain for the decades to come. Economic development on the border areas has the possibility of making the areas in Mexico much better off than they are now, and the program could even turn some kind of a profit if done properly. In some quick research on the internet, it looks like the cost of a border wall is on the order of about $21 billion USD and expected to take 3.5 years, but some sources seem to think the total boarder wall would be around $75 billion USD in total.

            It seems that with all of the money spent on various government programs, that maybe spending $20 billion per year to improve the areas of Mexico that boarder the United States would be a good program to try. The hope is that at some point people arriving in Mexico or in Mexico would be able to make a decent living in those areas, plus maybe once the areas are improved there would be demand for good and services from the United States to those areas at some point. I also expect that spending money in Mexico to improve the areas in Mexico would get a lot more purchasing power and benefit from the money than building a boarder wall with much more expensive labor and material sourced from the US side.

            While this may all take a while to see how it works out, I expect the end results would be worth the effort and settle the arguments on the issue instead of having  the current budget and legislative grid lock with nothing getting done by anyone.

Good Luck and Take Care,

Louis J. Desy Jr.

LouisDesyjr@gmail.com

Saturday, December 29, 2018

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US Government Shutdown – as of 4:15pm on Saturday, December 22, 2018

Well, at the moment there is a partial shutdown of the US government due to the failure to pass a continuing resolution (CR) for the budget prior to midnight last night. Apparently, as I listen to C-SPAN yesterday and this morning, the problem is that the President will not sign a continuing resolution for the budget unless it included five billion in funds towards building a board wall between Mexico and the United States plus the Senate has not passed any legislation yet.

The CR bill did pass the House of Representatives, but has not passed the Senate so there is nothing for the President to sign yet. While it was originally thought that if a continuing resolution was not passed prior to midnight yesterday that nothing could be done until after New Years Day since members of Congress were expected to leave Washington due to the Christmas holiday.

I am surprised to see and hear that the Senate appears to still be in session right now. Efforts appear to be being made to pass some kind of bill and end the partial shutdown of the government this weekend.

At the moment it is 4:20pm so if any continuing resolution does get passed before Christmas Day I will not only be surprised but somewhat amazed since it had been originally thought that it would be impossible to get any bill passed once the day ended on December 21.

It will be interesting to see what the next several hours bring and if any bill is passed, what exactly is in it.

One thought does occur to me is the possibility that the administration is really only using the boarder wall as a ‘wedge issue’ or ‘negotiating chip’ to get other things from Congress. I find it hard to believe that with all of the money spent by the government, that the administration really could not get five billion or even fifty billion dollars if it really wanted to for a boarder wall with Mexico. It seems to me for the relatively small amount of money involved, that something else must be going on or some other kinds of deals are being made, with the boarder wall being used as something that the administration ‘rolls out’ when it wants to get other things done. In this line of thinking, the administration says it wants a boarder wall with Mexico, but then at the end gives that up to get something else legislated that it really wants. The problem is that without reading all of the legislation passed, or someone confessing to what was negotiated, it is hard to tell what those other items were that the administration got passed.

Good Luck and Take Care,

Louis J. Desy Jr.

LouisDesyjr@gmail.com

Saturday, December 22, 2018 4:26pm

Update: Apparently, Congress adjourned for the day with no action being taken. While there will be a shortened session on Monday, Dec 24, Christmas Eve, it is not expected any legislation will be taken up so the shutdown is in effect until at least Thursday, December 27 when Congress will reconvene.

I also took a look at the total cost for a border wall with Mexico. From what I can see and alluded to by internal reports that some reporters have been allowed to view, the best estimates are that a border wall with Mexico would cost about 22 billion and take three years to build. Some people indicate the correct amount is really about three times that or as much as 70 billion dollars, but even that higher amount spread out over three years would be less than 25 billion per year. I think the fact that the amount is such a small amount overall of government spending on a per year basis lends more credibility to the possibility that the administration uses funding for a border wall with Mexico as a negotiating chip to get other legislative items instead of making a real effort to build a border wall with Mexico. Fact-checking Kamala Harris’ claim about cost of Trump’s border wall: https://www.politifact.com/california/article/2017/aug/29/fact-checking-kamala-harris-claim-about-cost-trump/

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