Doin’ the Shutdown Tango

Trump Maladministration

It appears the government will shut down at midnight, eastern time, barring somebody caving in somewhere. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll says that a substantial majority of Americans will blame Trump and the Republicans if that happens. Republicans are expressing some chagrin about this, but as Josh Marshall points out, shutdowns are part of the GOP brand. And, really, this one would be their fault, too.

From an editorial in the Boston Globe:

Anticipating the public backlash, Trump and some other Republicans are trying to divert blame to the minority Democrats. It’s an odd tactic. It’s true that many Democrats want no part of any deal unless it includes a separate proposal to protect the children of undocumented immigrants from deportation. But the Democrats don’t run Congress.

The real problem seems to be that GOP factions — deficit hawks, military hawks, Tea Party zealots, pro- and anti-immigrant legislators, President Trump’s various personalities — can’t agree on a deal among themselves. The president appeared to endorse a plan to include immigration measures in the bill last week but then reversed himself on Thursday.

The editorial goes on to say that in recent years, McConnell has counted on Democratic votes to pass legislation that the far right members opposed. This seems to have left the impression that Democrats can’t say no.

But now some Republicans, including Trump, are talking about Democratic votes as if it’s something they’re owed. Senator Tom Cotton, an immigration hard-liner, was even demanding “concessions” from the Democrats.

He’s got it all backwards. If the Republicans can’t agree among themselves to a deal — and it looks like they can’t — then Trump and the House and Senate leadership will need to budge, by offering a substantial immigration concession to peel off Democratic votes. Midterm elections are a few months away. If the Republicans want to demonstrate competence, now would be a great time to start.

“If the Republicans want to demonstrate competence, now would be a great time to start.” I’m not holding my breath.

Greg Sargent writes that most of the blame has to go to Donald Trump. His inability to hold on to a firm position for more than ten minutes has left Republicans stumbling in the dark.

I’m told that in a series of meetings between Democratic and GOP leaders and Trump administration officials, Democrats repeatedly pressed their counterparts to make a counter-offer, after Trump rejected the bipartisan deal reached recently that would legalize the dreamers in exchange for some concessions. They have gotten nothing serious in response, I’m told.

Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, told me that senior Democratic aides have been privately briefing him and other immigration advocates on these meetings.  … “The Democrats keep asking for a counter to the Graham-Durbin bill that would lay out what the White House wants, to see if there’s a middle ground between the proposal on the table and the White House position,” Sharry told me, characterizing the briefings he’s received on these meetings. In response, Sharry said, “there have been no such proposals.”

Instead, Sharry said, White House officials have continued to circulate documents at these meetings reiterating that Trump wants a number of very hard-line proposals, such as huge sums of money for a border wall and big cuts to legal immigration, which Sharry described as “the Stephen Miller-nativist wish list.” But Democrats continue to ask for proposals that would show what Trump might accept as a middle ground, to no avail.

Is Stephen Miller in charge of White House policy now?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently sniped that Trump “has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign” and that as a result, lawmakers are “spinning our wheels.”

It sounds as if even Republicans have given up trying to work out a compromise deal. After the “shithole” meeting, they know they can’t count on Trump to  not spit in their faces, never mind Democrat’s faces.

Mitch McConnell needs 60 votes, but he doesn’t even have all of his 50 Republicans. It’s not impossible some Democrats will cave, but I doubt enough of them will.

Share Button


  1. Doug  •  Jan 19, 2018 @7:37 pm

    I don't understand why the Republicans in Congress don't pass the compromise version of DACA that Dubin & Graham came up with. If it's not to Trump's liking, let Trump veto it and let Trump own it.(That would mean Trump individually owns the shutdown.) I don't think Trump will veto a bipartisan bill because it leaves him with no one to blame. He doesn't have the cohones to take responsibility. 

    Congress can run the show if the GOP stops letting this lunatic make policy. He can't hold any policy position longer than 10 minutes. It's hard to decide what's worse – Trump's stupidity or the spinelessness of the GOP 'leadership'.

  2. Bonnie  •  Jan 19, 2018 @8:15 pm

    I was working in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area for HHS in 1995.  Beginning in that summer, we were living under the daily threat of shutting the government down.  It was scary to me a low level worker.  No one had a clue what would happen if the government shutdown; thus, much of our time then was spent planning for a potential shutdown.  It took away time for us to work on our everyday work.  I worked for the Federal Government for 37 years, and never worked in an office that was overstaffed.  Understaffing has always been the only way the Feds worked because of the constant berating of us employees as lazy, no good workers.  We were finally "furloughed" around Thanksgiving for a short period.  When we went back to work, it was only for a couple of weeks; and, then we were "furloughed" again just before Christmas.  So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Newt Gingrich and all the Republicans for ruining my life for the holidays; and, for living in fear if I was ever going to work again.  Finally, it was announced we would return to work on January 8, 1996.  Well, hahaha, God or the great spaghetti monster or whatever you worship stepped in and had the last word–not Congress.  January 6 was the first day of a very nasty blizzard that came in and kept the Federal Government from going to work for another week, perhaps more (my memory is fading on some of the details).  In the end, we were paid for not working the whole time of the furloughs and the snow days.  It really would have been more cost effective to pay for actual work; but, the Republicans are too stupid to realize such a simple fact. 

    Shutdowns are just a game to the Repugs who could care less that they are playing with the lives of real live human beings who just happen to be Federal Government emloyees.  Will any one work for the Federal Government in the future?  Probably not.  Thus, everyone should start getting used to the Feds to be as bad as they have always been painted–no matter how wrong that painting was.  Now, it will be true.

  3. Swami  •  Jan 20, 2018 @1:20 am

    Well, looks like we got that "good shutdown" that Trump said we needed.

  4. Dan  •  Jan 20, 2018 @1:40 am

    Republicans rail on about how bad the government is, then when they get elected they prove it.

    And yet, the sheeple still vote for them.  Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results each time has a name, if only I could remember it…

  5. pablo  •  Jan 20, 2018 @9:01 am

    It's called Trumpism…otherwise known as insanity.