No matter what the President says, the shutdown is bad, and he is responsible.
It does nothing but harm — harm to our international reputation as a functioning democracy and harm to the financial well being of 800,000 of federal employees, 35,000 of them in Texas. The shutdown causes harm in the daily lives of millions of Americans the longer it progresses. Without funding, the FDA cannot inspect food and drugs, TSA cannot keep airports safe, and those on SNAP and other welfare recipients will not receive the help they need.
Recently, President Trump announced he will order about 420,000 federal workers back to work, without pay. Tax forms will be processed, TSA screenings can proceed and other services may be provided. Except one thing: The government is still shut down and the workers are still unpaid.
This shutdown could easily have been avoided. All the President had to do was ignore the talking heads of Fox & Friends and keep his word that he would sign a continuing resolution that did not include funding for a border wall, a resolution that was passed by the Senate and would have been passed by the House. But he was incapable of doing this and instead demanded $5.6 billion for his wall, only a fraction of the estimated $20-30 billion it would actually cost to build and maintain. So here we are in the longest government shutdown in American history.
Donald Trump has a habit of bending under the pressure of a small and vocal minority in the right wing media. When Trump seems to stray too far from his base, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh come after him with vicious attacks meant to steer him toward their own agendas. These attacks work because of Trump’s inability to withstand criticism, especially from those he believes are on his side.
This shutdown is a massive detriment to Trump’s presidency and the GOP, especially with a new Democratic-controlled house coming to power. The house will never give him the $5 billion he demands for his wall; a wall, I should remind you, that Mexico was supposed to be paying for. Now the President is threatening to declare a national emergency and send more troops to the border to construct the wall, subverting Congress’ power to control spending.
This shutdown gives Democrats an opportunity to show that they can govern and legislate in spite of Trump, with their first bills addressing everything from campaign finance to making sure Homeland Security and FBI employees are paid. It also gives Republicans and Democrats a chance to show that they can still work together, as they did when they passed a bill to provide back pay to federal workers through both the House and the Senate. This bill was signed into law Wednesday. Now all Sen. Mitch McConnell has to do is stop blocking the bills the House passes to reopen the government.
During the shutdown, there are no winners — only 800,000 Americans out of work, being late on rent or filing for unemployment. And they have only President Trump to thank.