With just two days left before the government runs out of funding, it appears President Trump — whose party, of course, is in control of all three branches of government — may be rooting for a shutdown.
The government will run out of funding on Friday, and unless Congress reaches a deal, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will begin being furloughed without pay, and government offices, national parks, and other federal services will close. Some federal workers considered essential to national security would be forced to work without pay, and safety net services like Medicare and Medicaid could be impacted by the loss of administrative assistance.
On Wednesday afternoon, POLITICO reported that the White House was “privately skittish” about a shutdown, but Trump has been dropping hints for months that he is reveling in the possibility. Last May, for example, Trump publicly called for a shutdown on Twitter amid the one of the several failed Obamacare repeal fights.
“Our country needs a good shutdown in September to fix mess!” he tweeted.
either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good "shutdown" in September to fix mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2017
Of course, the government avoided a shutdown in September, but they’ve been kicking the can down the road ever since without a long-term solution. Last week, Trump rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, a move that could drive legislators on both sides of the aisle to revolt and vote against any sort of funding bill. NBC also reported that Congressional leaders are saying they won’t even vote on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and border security deal presented by the Gang of Six because Trump won’t sign it even if it passes.
Hill leaders saying they won’t vote on Gang of Six DACA fix/border bill because POTUS won’t sign it. That’s a new standard for congressional action: only vote on what the White House allows Congress to vote on.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) January 17, 2018
Some Democratic senators, including Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) argued Wednesday that a shutdown is exactly what Trump and his allies want.
“Trump wants a shutdown,” Sanders tweeted, along with a video about the “major issues that have to be dealt with to stop him from getting his way,” including parity between domestic and military spending increases, a deal on a fix for the DACA program, and funding for community health centers.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 17, 2018
Schatz took shots at his colleague Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), tweeting, “I have no personal quarrel with Tom Cotton, but it’s clear he wants a shutdown in the worst way.”
Some Republicans have begun to publicly admit Schatz and Sanders are right, too. On Wednesday, Josh Hammer, a former aide to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote a piece for The Daily Wire headlined, “Memo to GOP: There Is Nothing Wrong With A Little Government Shutdown,” and Fox Business Network contributor Charles Payne argued on Twitter that a shutdown could be good for the economy.
would it really be so awful? GOP might be goaded into poor deal based on hype of government shutdown. Historically only one year with shutdown saw negative GDP (1982) and market usually higher last three:
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) January 17, 2018
At any rate, if the government does shut down, the Trump administration wants you to know that it will be the greatest government shutdown ever, on account of you’d still get to go to the monuments if you wanted to.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) January 17, 2018
“It’s safe to say that a shutdown — a lapse in appropriation — under this administration would look very different than it did under the previous administration,” Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Fox Business Wednesday. “Not that anyone would want to go to the monuments today in Washington D.C., because it’s miserably cold here, but if they wanted to under a government shutdown, those would be open. So a shutdown would look very different under a Republican administration than it would under a Democrat.”
A handful Democrats have promised to take a principled stance on the DACA program, which makes approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children eligible for work permits and provides temporary deportation relief. Seven Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes for government funding if a deal to protect DACA recipients isn’t reached.
For entirely different reasons, it appears Trump may be right there with them.