The big news this week: Will there be a government shutdown?
You probably shouldn’t. In the long run, it won’t matter. The “markets” won’t be impacted. In the short run, a shutdown may inconvenience you through stopped services or delayed checks. For example, you may not be able to visit a National Park.
DACA is the “Dreamers” act; it stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and is probably unconstitutional. On 05-Sept-2017, President Trump announced that he would give Congress six months (until March 5, 2018) to make it legal. That deadline may or may not happen, after a strange ruling from Judge Alsup put an injunction against it.
Homeland Security has claimed Trump cannot Constitutionally extend that deadline.
The U.S. Government funding runs out this Friday, 19-Jan-2018. Which is a month-and-a-half before the DACA deadline. (The shutdown comes the next day.)
The Democrats want to link funding the government to extending DACA. President Trump wants to link extending DACA to other immigration reform. DACA is popular, so the Democrats seem to believe that they should hold the nation hostage over DACA.
Both sides support DACA. The issue is mostly, with what conditions?
- Democrats want a “clean bill”, giving them DACA with no other constraints. The Democrats will not accept actual immigration reform.
- Republicans want what Democrats usually claim to want, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, meaning funding for starting the Wall and reduction of Chain Immigration.
Yes but… that doesn’t mean both parties would have voted for it. A deal is bipartisan even if just two people, neither in the mainstream of their parties but from different parties, agree to it. Bi-Partisan doesn’t mean much.
Neither Obamacare nor the Tax Cuts passed with bi-partisan support.
To shut down the government, the Democrats need to prevent a majority vote for the bill in either the House or the Senate. The Republicans have a solid majority in the House.
In the Senate, there are 51 GOP Senators, which is a majority, but if the Democrats filibuster the bill… meaning they hold the floor and talk endlessly a la Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, 60 votes are required to end the filibuster.
The Republicans essentially have three sets of opponents for the spending bill:
- The Democrats; 5 Senators and 25 Representatives have stated they will not vote for funding if it doesn’t address DACA.
- President Trump doesn’t always see eye-to-eye, which costs them cohesion
- The Freedom Caucus – the same group that caused the initial Obamacare debate challenges – is nominally Republican but far enough to the right to be in opposition often. And they aren’t in favor of supporting a short-term funding bill without some compromises for them. Which might make the spending bill even less palatable for the Democrats.
To pass the spending bill in the Senate, the Republicans need all Republican votes, including the Freedom Caucus, plus nine Democratic Senator votes. Or enough additional Democrats to compensate for the missing Freedom Caucus votes.
That may seem like a big hurdle, but some of the Democrats are in solidly “Red” states and up for re-election in states Trump won. That’s the question of, if there is a shutdown…
- Historically the opposition party pulling the trigger loses:
- The Republicans under Newt Gingrinch shut down Bill Clinton’s budget in 1995 after Clinton lost the 1994 midterms. The Republicans lost the P.R. war and the following election.
- When the (Republican) Freedom Caucus and Ted Cruz held the government hostage over defunding Obamacare (which was extremely unpopular at the time, as was Obama), their numbers plummeted.
- However, in those cases the “opposition” was Republican. All three previous “shutdowns” were due to Republican opposition. This time it’s the Democrats, who have media-support.
- Some media, predictably, claim the Republicans would be blamed regardless of history. Although note that the poll was from the extreme-left group MoveOn.
Also worth noting: President Trump doesn’t seem to care about his approval numbers, and they seem to have a solid bottom, meaning they don’t drop.