In all likelihood, there will be a historic shutdown of the U.S. federal government tomorrow night at midnight. While not the first such shutdown, it is historic because it is the first in the history of the United States to occur when the same party is in control of both houses of Congress as well as the executive office. In other words, the republicans can’t even reach concensus sithin their own ranks. In truth, Donald Trump wants the shutdown, for he has done everything to interfere with any bipartisan efforts to reach an agreement on a spending plan. And why does Donald Trump want a shutdown? Because he can blame the democrats, then ‘magnanimously’ make some gesture to bring about a spending plan and re-open the government, making him, at least in his own eyes, the ‘hero’ and the democrats the ‘bad hombres’.
To Trump, it is all a game in which he must come out looking like the winner. But make no mistake, folks, this is not a game, this is messing with the lives of hundreds of thousands of people to boost the ego of the megalomaniac in the White House.
The most recent federal shutdown was in 2013 and lasted two weeks, from October 1st through the 16th. That one was a result of an effort led largely by Ted Cruz and republicans to de-fund ACA (Obamacare). Prior to that it had been 17 years since the last government shutdowns in 1995 and-1996, which were caused by disagreement between President Bill Clinton and the republican Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health. Those two shutdowns lasted a total of 27 days and the dispute was largely fueled by none other than Newt Gingrich.
The latest dispute comes over the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides medical coverage to eligible children through a combination of Mediaid and separate state-administered programs. The other issue of contention is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that shielded young people brought to this country as children, from deportation and provided work permits. Isn’t it interesting that the two largest areas of contention involve children? Why? Because children are an easy target and most importantly draw on emotions, so are easily used as pawns or bargaining chips in political pandering.
Make no mistake … for the men and women sitting in the Capitol, and for the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, this is a game … a high stakes game. It is a game whereby hundreds of thousands of people … human beings … may be temporarily furloughed from their jobs, without pay, for a few weeks.
Until today, Donald Trump has not much cared about the children who would lose their ability to seek medical care under the CHIP program, but only now he pretends to care, for those children suddenly became a bargaining tool. This, my friends, is your government hard at work. Do you matter? No, you don’t matter, I don’t matter … just keep paying those income taxes, then sit down and shut up like a good little lemming.
The current short-term spending plan being negotiated in Congress calls for a six-year extension of the CHIP program, but then suddenly this morning Trump tweeted this …
“CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!”
It is said that Congress is scrambling, trying to interpret his short tweet. Does he mean he won’t sign it? Does he mean he does not want CHIP included? What does he mean? According to one person involved in the negotiations, “Guaranteed the President is misunderstanding what’s going on based on something he saw on TV and we’ll see a corrective tweet in the next hour or so,” And Trump claims to be a ‘genius’ … HAH!
I believe the federal government will, in fact, shut down at midnight tomorrow, because I believe that no matter what sort of spending bill may be passed by both houses of Congress, Trump will refuse to sign it. Trump wants the government to shut down. Trump seems to feel a need to break things, just so he can take credit for having later fixed them. A sad statement of what our government has become.