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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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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Does the Muller investigation have anything to report yet? If yes, what is Muller waiting for? If no, then why not issue a report as soon as possible?

In recent days there has been speculation that the Muller investigation is going to release something of ‘great importance’ but not specified as to what that would be.

Chuck Todd: I wouldn’t miss work tomorrow

One interesting question is how and why does Chuck Todd know anything that the public would not know? Is someone leaking information to Chuck Todd? If yes, isn’t that illegal?

Again, isn’t the special counsel supposed to be trying to complete their investigation and issue a report as soon as possible to the public?

Some commentators are starting to claim that the report would not or should not be released until after the mid term elections for fear that the results of the report would unduly influence the mid term elections. The only problem is that if there is something in the report that WOULD influence the elections shouldn’t the report be released BEFORE the midterm elections so people could act on the information? Doesn’t the public have a right to be informed of facts and information that would influence their voting in an election instead of finding out important facts until it was too late to do anything until the next election in 2018?

What is going on with the investigation and why is it taking so long for anything to be reported from the investigation? If there is nothing to report, why is money being spent on what seems to becoming an endless investigation into nothing? If there IS something to report, when is anyone planning on ever finishing the investigation so action can be taken? If there is something to report, what is the plan, to wait until the end of the second term for the administration before anything is done?

At the current rate things are proceeding everyone will be gone from old age before anything is done!

This is NOT how a competent investigation is supposed to proceed. As of May 31, 2018 the cost of the Muller investigation was $16.7 million.

Mueller’s investigation cost $16.7 million in just under a year, new documents show

Is running endless investigations the new paradigm for make work or no show jobs for Washington insiders? How can so much money have been spent with little to nothing to show for it and no report issued? How much money and time does Muller thinks he is going to need to spend ‘before he can issue a report’? Is this how Muller ran investigations when he was at the FBI? Is the reason why it seems that criminals never get caught or go to jail for anything is because the FBI is simply unable to do the job they were created to do or somehow being prevented in doing their job by people at the upper levels of the organization?

On the Muller investigation, in short:

What is going on?
Why does no one seem to be able to get anything done?
Why does no one seem to be able to tell what is being accomplished with all this money being spent?
When, if ever, do they plan on finishing the investigation?
How is it possible that things are being allowed to be run like this?

Louis J. Desy Jr.
Friday, August 31, 2018

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Did Trump Collude with Russian in the 2016 Election? Part 1 of many

A question that seems to have been dragging on for months is whether or not President Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 Presidential election? While there has been all kinds of reports, speculation and various reports in the media from various sources; there appears to be nothing conclusive as to what was going, who was responsible and if anyone is guilty of a crime or not. It is now almost two years since the election and even with the release of some ‘official reports’, nothing seems to be clear as to what is and was going on. If a crime was committed, then it needs to be brought before a court and the people responsible held to account for their actions. If there was no crime, then an official account and report needs to be made to the public so people can have faith in the administration, its elected officials and not worry that a foreign power has or had undue influence over the US government and the country. After more than two years of investigations going on, it should be possible to get such a report done and issued. If the people running the investigations can’t or won’t make a report, then they need to replaced with people who can issue such a report in a timely manner or explain what else they need to investigate before such a report would be possible and to provide updates on their progress on being able to issue such a report.

Along the way, there seems to be a number of questions that should or need to answered plus other things that have occurred to me as this process as gone on since the election in 2016.

1: If Trump was colluding with the Russians to get elected, wouldn’t Jeff Sessions, now Attorney General (AG), have NOT recuse himself from the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations and instead stopped any and all investigations into the issue? Jeff Sessions recused himself early in the process from all investigations in the matter. It seems that if he was somehow involved that instead of recusing himself from the investigations, that he would instead have done everything possible to stop any inquiries as soon as he was confirmed as AG.

2: Just because there may have been some Russian interference with the election, it does NOT necessarily mean that Trump colluded with Russians to win the election. If Russia did do or try to do something to influence the election, it does not mean that Trump or anyone working with his campaign had any idea what was going on or involved with it.

3: WHAT exactly was the Russian influence in the election of 2016? So far no one seems to be able to willing to tell the public EXACTLY what the Russian influence is or was. As best as I can tell, the Russian influence was some FaceBook ads of $100,000 run AFTER the election and did not necessarily all be in support of Trump. It also seems unbelievable that someone spending $100,000 in ads could change the outcome of an election when the total campaign spending for the Presidential and Congressional elections in 2016 was something on the order of $6.5 billion with $2.4 billion spent in the presidential elections, according to Opensecrets.org. I originally thought the whole presidential campaign spending was ‘only’ $300 million. How could only $100,000 in FaceBook ads change the outcome of an election? What or how could anyone alter an outcome with such a small amount of money?

4: Was there anyone on the Trump staff part of any investigation? One of the stories that seems to be making the rounds is that the then administration, under President Obama, had one or more people working as part of the Trump staff working on an investigation or even working to do some kind of ‘counter intelligence operation’ to prevent the Russians from influencing the Trump staff or Trump himself. If this is so, where is the results of that work? Why does no one seem to be clear on what, if anything, such work found? If Russia somehow was colluding or did gain influence over some of Trump’s staff, did anyone warn or notify Trump so he could deal with the problem? If the problem was so bad that Russia did have major influence over the staff, and in effect had co opted one of the staff of one of the major candidates for President, why didn’t the Obama administration tell the public or do something? i.e. Why let the election go forward if there really was a major problem? Another aspect is that even if there was someone working with Russia on the staff, it does NOT mean that Trump was part of it.

5: If Trump was working with Russian, why did Trump talk about how Germany is buying gas from Russian and giving them money and making them stronger while the US is helping to defend Russian against Germany as part of NATO?

From July 11, 2018 Washington Post article quoting President Trump at NATO meeting:
Trump’s complaint about Germany and Russia, explained

” “I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said. “So we’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia, where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia.”
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia,” he later added, “because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not, and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO and I don’t think it should have happened.”

This is not exactly what you would expect a President Trump to be saying on the record and in public if Trump was colluding with Russia. One of the few sources of foreign exchange for Russia is its energy exports. The pipeline deals with Europe is going to be a major source of that revenue. If Trump gets Germany and other European nations to shift some of that spending to US exports, it will cost Russian billions in revenue for years to come.

Louis J. Desy Jr.
Saturday, August 25, 2018

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