A deal to pass a short-term solution failed before midnight
One year ago, Donald Trump was being inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. He also has a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, and because of that has made a lot of big promises about what he would accomplish.
Last night, despite that majority, the government entered a complete shutdown when the Senate voted against a provision to extend the budget for another few weeks.
There are two major policy issues contributing to the shutdown, both of which effect millions of American families: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Childhood Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The House of Representatives has already passed a bill to keep the government running, one that includes funding for CHIP, but does not resolve the DACA situation, in which millions of people brought to the U.S. as children could be deported.
Providing funding for CHIP – which 9 million lower-income children depend upon for healthcare – was a strategic move by the Republicans to entice the Democrats into passing the budget measure even without DACA, but it didn’t work. As of last night, the Senate fell short of the 60 votes it needed to enact the legislation.
A different bill, proposed by a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans, includes DACA, also doesn’t have the 60 votes it needs, and has already been rejected by the president despite his previous assurances that he would extend DACA.
In the aftermath, both sides are blaming each other while the public is left to reckon with the consequences of a government that has stopped functioning.
The government has been shut down before, most recently in 2013 under Barack Obama, during which citizen Trump wrote a tweet laying the blame for such shutdowns directly at the president’s feet. Something he’s decidedly not doing now, instead blaming Democrats despite the fact that his party controls Congress and several Republicans voted against last night’s bill.
Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
CNN has a guide to exactly what happens during a shutdown, including all non-essential employees being put on leave (they’ll be paid for time missed when things start up again).
Despite President Trump attempting to scare people into thinking the military will be shut down, that’s obviously considered essential, but national parks, zoos, and museums will be closed as their employees are forced to stay home.
Robert Mueller’s justice department probe will continue unabated as the Office of the Special Counsel is essential, and we’ll all still get our mail, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will be shut down, which is the one thing that can actually stop someone for getting a gun permit in this country.
People have taken to Twitter to spread the blame, with some labeling it the #TrumpShutdown.
— Women's March (@womensmarch) January 20, 2018
Congressmen have also joined the outcry, with both sides volleying back and forth.
Republican Representative Larru Buchson made it a choice between “hardworking U.S. citizens” and “illegal immigrants.”
Democrats have chosen illegal immigrants over hardworking U.S. citizens. Irresponsible.
— Larry Bucshon, MD (@RepLarryBucshon) January 20, 2018
Democrat Ted Deutsch blames the Republicans for not using their power to get something positive done.
Sadly, the lack of leadership by the Republican President, Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, have caused delay after delay on efforts to reach a bipartisan deal on DACA, CHIP and funding the government. We don’t need 4 weeks. No more delays. Be responsible and negotiate now.
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) January 20, 2018
And, according to CNN, the Trump White House is staying true to form and simply hurling insults.
Meanwhile, millions of immigrants are twisting in the wind, wondering it they’ll be ripped from their homes, and millions of families with sick children are terrified they’ll be abandoned when they most need help from their country. All while politicians squabble, assign blame, and get nothing done.