Deal, no deal on federal government shutdown

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In December, the Senate approved unanimously by voice vote a spending bill that had been approved by party leadership to which President Trump had agreed.

But then racist polemicists Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter told the president that he was done with his white nationalist racist base if he did not build the “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border that Mexico was going to pay for, as he had promised his gullible MAGA supporters. Trump then reneged on the deal he had agreed to with his party leadership.

House Speaker Paul Ryan dutifully substituted a bill which contained $5 billion dollars for a border wall, a round number which Trump simply pulled out of his ass, which the lame-duck losers of the Republican caucus who had just been tossed out of office by the largest Democratic landslide since the post-Watergate 1974 election voted for the bill on their way out the door. Good riddance.

The new Democratic majority Congress that took office in January passed the Senate bill to which President Trump had previously agreed (before reneging on his deal), and sent it back to the Senate where it should have been a no-brainer to pass (it already passed the Senate unanimously).

But “The Enemy of The People,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has refused to bring this bill to another vote on the specious ground that President Trump will not sign it. So what?

Apparently McConnell no longer cares about fundamentals of constitutional democracy such as separation of powers and coequal branches of government. The Senate can pass the bill it previously passed unanimously, and if the president throws a temper tantrum and vetoes it, Congress has the power to override his veto. U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 7, clause 2. The votes are there to override any veto if Republicans were not such craven cowards.

Rather than follow this constitutional procedure, McConnell scheduled show votes today on two bills designed to fail, solely as a PR stunt.

Nevertheless a majority of the Senate, including six Republican senators crossed the aisle on Thursday to vote with Democrats to advance the stopgap CR measure that would end the partial government shutdown. But in the undemocratic Senate, a majority vote is not enough to pass a bill. Six GOP senators vote to advance stopgap bill without wall funding:

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) voted to advance the continuing resolution (CR).

The stopgap measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.

But the 52-44 vote in support of reopening the government without additional funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall is a major blow to President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). (Oops!)

The Senate also rejected the Trump-backed proposal on Thursday, which would have included $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. That measure received only 50 votes, also falling short of the 60 needed to advance.

So Mitch McConnell just wasted everyone’s time on a PR stunt today that left federal workers and contractors in dire financial straits. Friday will mark the second paycheck missed by affected federal workers, whose household budgets have been completely upended. In addition, critical federal law enforcement agencies, Donald Trump’s government shutdown cripples FBI, raises terrorism risk, and the federal courts will soon run out of money. Shutdown expected to hit federal judiciary on Feb. 1 as cash runs low. All because of Trump’s childish demand for a medieval monument to himself.

So where do things stand now? Pelosi: No Dem counteroffer on border security:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that House Democrats are not working behind the scenes to craft a counteroffer to President Trump’s border wall demands as a strategy for ending the history-making partial shutdown.

“That’s not true. That’s not true. That’s not true,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.

Instead, the Speaker asserted that Democrats’ strategic blueprint remains unchanged: The House will continue to pass spending bills already authored and endorsed by Republicans, while insisting that Trump reopen the government as the prerequisite for bringing Democrats to the negotiating table on his border wall.

“We are doing what we have been doing all along: working on our congressional responsibility to write bills, appropriations bills, to keep government open,” she said.

The remarks arrive as Democratic leaders are expected to release their own plan to bolster border security, to include enhanced surveillance technologies and reinforcement of existing physical barriers — but no new wall construction.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Wednesday that the Democrats are prepared to match Trump’s figure of $5.7 billion for border security — with two stipulations: it can’t be used for new wall construction, and the negotiations must happen after the shutdown has ended.

“Using the figure that the president has put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing what I like to call using a smart wall,” Clyburn told reporters after a Democratic caucus meeting. “These are the types of things that we are going to be putting forward.”

This is where any previous president, or any good negotiator, would declare victory and take what the Democrats are offering. But not the current fool in the White House. Trump insists on his childish demand for a medieval monument to himself.

Pelosi on Thursday framed the Democrats’ emerging border security proposal — expected to be released as early as Thursday afternoon — as a standard part of the appropriations process.

“Many of those bills have come to the floor again and again, just this week. The Homeland Security Bill was not finished. Hopefully it will be finished soon, and out of that you will see our commitment to border security,” she said. “That’s not any negotiation behind the scenes, or anything like that.”

Pelosi declined to put a figure on the border security provisions to be included in the Department of Homeland Security bill, being spearheaded by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who heads the Homeland Security Committee. But she emphasized that it will come in addition to other border-related funding already included in House-passed bills to to fund other agencies with a hand in security, including the Treasury, Justice and State departments.

“Within our $49 billion Homeland Security bill there will be some provisions,” she said.

Pelosi’s remarks highlight the disagreement at the crux of the shutdown standoff: Democrats are insisting the government be reopened as a condition of negotiating on the border wall; Republicans are demanding negotiations on the border wall as a condition of reopening the government.

Because Republicans always take hostages and extort ransom. Their go-to move is criminal misconduct. And they do not care whom they hurt in the process. This is totally unacceptable. Congress needs to enact Sen. Mark Warner’s ‘Stop STUPIDITY Act’ aimed at preventing future shutdowns. No other mature democracy in the world behaves this way.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday that the Democrats “are prepared to spend a very substantial sum of money because we share the view that the borders need to be secure.”

But Hoyer, speaking for most Democrats, said there’s no “crisis” at the southern border, as Trump has insisted, and he amplified the party’s position that the Democrats will start negotiating new border security spending only after the government has been reopened, even if only temporarily.

“The letter is not a negotiation,” Hoyer said. “The letter is going to articulate what we believe is an effective investment to accomplish border security.”

But the White House is still demanding a “large down payment” on President Trump’s proposed border wall as part of a potential deal to temporarily reopen the government for only three weeks. White House demands ‘large down payment on the wall’ as Schumer and McConnell try to reach shutdown deal:

After the Senate rejected two proposals to end the partial shutdown now in its 34th day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met to discuss a possible solution. Numerous bipartisan senators pledged support for a continuing resolution to fund the government for three weeks.

After Trump spoke to his ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the White House backed the potential agreement — with conditions.

“Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Chuck Schumer are meeting now to see whether or not they can work out of the deadlock. As was made clear to Senator Lindsay [sic] Graham, the 3 week CR would only work if there is a large down payment on the wall,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Outside of McConnell’s office Thursday, Schumer said “we’re talking,” but no more to reporters. Even the dialogue marks an improvement in talks: negotiations essentially came to a halt after Trump walked out of a meeting with Schumer and Pelosi on Jan. 9.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn is offering Trump a way out, a way to save face and to declare victory, but the damn fool won’t take it! He insists on his childish demand for a medieval monument to himself.

So 800,000 federal employees and their families, and local businesses who rely on them spending money in their communities are forced to suffer economic hardship. Eventually the economy is going to take a hit as well. All because we have an egomaniacal narcissistic man-baby for president.





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