The United States government shut down for the eighteenth time in modern history on Saturday, January 20th. The reason behind the shutdown was an inability to reach a bipartisan agreement on Congressional funding.
It should be noted that Republicans control the House, Senate, and the Presidency, but were still not able to pass a bill in the Senate. Per the Washington Post: “A government shutdown causing employee furloughs has never occurred under unified party control of Congress and the White House. Some furloughs of White House employees began immediately early Saturday.”
The original spending bill passed 229-197 in the House, and was then moved to the Senate. Before the Senate voted on the legislation, Democratic senators came out in opposition to the bill because it “did not reflect their priorities on immigration, government spending and other issues.”
Debate on the bill opened late Thursday in an attempt to reach a bipartisan agreement to prevent the government from shutting down. In an attempt for Republicans to pass those protections, Democrats added funding for the border wall.
Republicans attached a long-term extension for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to entice Democrats into supporting the bill, but Democrats remained firm on wanting protections for Dreamers. So, to try to reach an agreement before a government shutdown, Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) met with President Trump in private. In this meeting, the two reached an outline where Democrats would support the funding for the border wall in exchange for action on DACA and Dreamers, but once Schumer left the meeting, the outline fell through and Trump never pressured his party to accept it.
Facing backlash from conservatives for the shut down, Democrats turned the focus to the President of the United States in his first year in office, as well as many statements made previously that contradict his current stance.
Plenty of blame is being passed around in Washington, and while Republicans continue to pin all fault on the Democrats, they are receiving mixed messages from their own president on how to handle the situation.
The fact that Republicans added CHIP just to gain Democratic votes is insulting and shows that they do not truly have the interest of children at heart. Democrats shouldn’t have budged just for CHIP; it should be a given to provide insurance for children in this country.
Democrats even gave ground on funding the border wall. First, President Trump said that Mexico would pay for the wall, so the fact that Republicans tried to pass legislation for taxpayers to foot the bill for it is hypocritical and inexcusable. Even so, Democrats offered it only in return for protections for Dreamers. If Republicans don’t want to fund children’s insurance and Dreamers, who didn’t come here illegally by their own choice, they need to reevaluate their moral code.
Republicans scream that they are pro-life in the name of preventing abortions, but when it comes to making sure that child is born having insurance and equal opportunities, they rail against it or begrudgingly support it. But, I digress.
This shutdown is not one-sided. Republicans shot down bipartisan legislation proposed by Democrats. Democrats held firm and killed the spending bill that passed through the House. Both sides are to blame, but the Republicans are the ones with complete control in Congress. They have the power of majority and they have the power to veto and power to use executive order with the president. The fact that the government is shut down is more so the fault of the Republicans than the Democrats, plain and simple.
It is not as easy as throwing up a graphic that says, misleadingly, “Votes to keep government running, votes against keeping the government running.”