Tag Archives: government shutdown

September forecast: possible government shutdown over Trump’s border wall

Martin Longman at the Political Animal blog brings up a topic no one is currently talking about, but should rightly be concerned about. Will the Government Shut Down in October?

Stan Collender, who is one of the best analysts on the congressional budgeting process, has put up a doomsday clock at his blog. It says that the Republicans have 69 days left before the government shuts down again, but the real number is less than half of that when you take into account weekends, vacations, and days when no votes are scheduled.

Or as the POLITICO Playbook correctly pointed out this morning, 14 legislative days until the government shuts down:

IT MIGHT PUT YOUR MIND at ease that August recess is around the corner, but Congress has 14 legislative days before the government shuts down Sept. 30. Yes, just 14 legislative days — including today — in session to pass a bill to keep the government open.

If you talk to top Republicans privately, they’ll brush it off, and say that there is no way PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP will want a confrontation roughly a month before the election in order to get money for his border wall. A down payment to continue to build the wall will be enough to keep Trump happy, some top Republicans say.

Can they be so certain?

IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH IMAGINATION to see the president unhappy with a small pot of money for his signature wall. If the right goes crazy, saying Congress isn’t backing the president’s top immigration proposal, the president might get riled up. Remember: last time the president threatened to veto a spending bill his own staff had a hand in negotiating. Republicans will also be on the brink of electing new congressional leaders, which adds another complication into the mix. There isn’t much room for error, as you can see. And the president and his advisers believe that his immigration policy is a net positive for Republicans across the country.

OF COURSE, the uncomfortable reality for Republicans is that they will almost certainly need Democratic votes to get a government-funding bill across the finish line. And there are a healthy number of Democrats who don’t want Trump to have any money for his border wall.

MOST LIKELY at this point: Congress will try to use September to pass a stop-gap measure to fund government until the end of 2018.

“Stan Collender puts the odds of a October 1st shutdown at 60 percent.” Collender clearly has little confidence in this miserable do-nothing GOP Congress and an increasingly erratic and unpredictable president.

Continue reading

America faces a moral crisis of its fundamental values

The Washington Post editorial states it concisely, The Trump administration created this awful border policy. It doesn’t need Congress to fix it. As Senator Lindsey Graham said, pick up the damn phone and make the call.

But as the New York Times interview with White House crypto-fascist white nationalist adviser Stephen Miller makes abundantly clear about what is happening, “they want this” (h/t graphic: Rachel Maddow Show). How Anti-Immigration Passion Was Inflamed From the Fringe:

It was Jeff Sessions who ordered prosecutors to take a new “zero tolerance” attitude toward families crossing into the United States, part of his plans to reshape the country’s law enforcement priorities to limit immigration. It is Stephen Miller who has championed the idea inside the White House, selling President Trump on the benefits of a policy that his adversaries have called “evil,” “inhumane” and equivalent to child abuse or the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

* * *

Asked if the images of children being taken from their parents would eventually make the president back down, Mr. Miller was adamant.

“There is no straying from that mission,” he said.

* * *

In the recent interview, Mr. Miller dismissed as ignorant the hand-wringing of Republicans about the family separation controversy.

“You have one party that’s in favor of open borders, and you have one party that wants to secure the border,” Mr. Miller said. “And all day long the American people are going to side with the party that wants to secure the border. And not by a little bit. Not 55-45. 60-40. 70-30. 80-20. I’m talking 90-10 on that.”

Continue reading

House approves massive spending bill, moves to Senate to avert a government shutdown (Updated)

The U.S. House of Representatives on a vote of 256-167 (proceeding under the TARGET Act) has approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill to avert a government shutdown and to fund federal agencies through Sept. 30, sending the measure over to the Senate ahead of a midnight Friday deadline.

Arizona Delegation: YES McSally, O’Halleran, Sinema; NO Biggs, Gallego, Gosar, Grijalva, Schweikert.

The Senate is expected to vote late on Thursday or Friday, before current government funding expires at midnight on Friday. There could still be another brief Aqua Buddha shutdown from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) desperately seeking attention.

You can read the massive 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion spending bill to search for what is hidden in it.

Here are a few highlights of what is (and is not) in the spending bill compiled from several sources including the Washington Post, Politico, and Vox.com.

OVERALL SPENDING

Defense spending generally favored by Republicans is set to rise $80 billion over previously authorized budget sequester levels, including a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel and $144 billion for Pentagon hardware.

Domestic spending generally favored by Democrats is set to rise by $63 billion over previously authorized budget sequester levels, including increases in funding for infrastructure, medical research, veterans programs and efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Civilian federal employees get a 1.9 percent pay raise.

Continue reading

(Update) A budget deal, but can it pass? Demand a DACA vote in the House

In an eleventh hour deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to fund the government and set spending levels for defense and nondefense programs over the next two years. Senate leaders agree to two-year budget deal:

The legislation would avert a government shutdown on Friday, when federal funding is due to expire, and boost defense and nondefense programs.

It also lifts the debt ceiling to March 2019 [which was to have been the next manufactured crisis for GOP hostage taking in a few weeks.]

The deal is backed by McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and will almost certainly be cleared as part of a stopgap funding measure by the Senate before a Feb. 8 deadline to prevent a shutdown.

It is not entirely sure the package will win enough support to pass the House, however.

As anticipated, GOP fiscal hawks revolt against Senate budget deal:

House conservatives on Wednesday revolted against a massive bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and bust spending caps, complaining that the GOP could no longer lay claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility.

* * *

The swift backlash from fiscal hawks means that Ryan and his leadership team will need dozens of Democratic votes to help get the caps-and-funding deal through the lower chamber to avert a government shutdown set for midnight Friday.

Continue reading

Brinksmanship in Congress with only one day to a government shutdown

So the GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” went ahead with his kabuki theater plan to pass his fifth temporary spending bill (CR) that everyone knows was DOA in the Senate. He no doubt wants credit for his farce. House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money:

House Republicans passed a spending package on Tuesday night that pairs a full year of defense funding with a temporary patch for the rest of the government, even as Senate leaders pursue a different plan to avoid a shutdown when funding runs dry on Thursday.

The continuing resolution (CR), which passed the House 245-182, would fund the Defense Department for the rest of fiscal 2018 and keep the rest of the government’s lights on until March 23. It also includes two years of funding for community health centers and extends several expiring health care programs.

But the defense-CR package is unlikely to fly in the Senate, meaning senators will need to rewrite the stopgap measure and “ping-pong” it back to the House.

Spending bills are supposed to originate in the House, but since that clown show is held hostage by the House GOP Freedom Caucus who are not serious about governing responsibly, the serious work of keeping the government functioning is being done in the Senate. Senate leaders see two-year budget deal within their grasp:

Top Senate leaders were working Tuesday to finalize a sweeping long-term budget deal that would include a defense spending boost President Trump has long demanded alongside an increase in domestic programs championed by Democrats.

As negotiations for the long-term deal continued, the House passed a short-term measure that would fund the government past a midnight Thursday deadline and avert a second partial shutdown in less than a month.

The House bill, which passed 245 to 182, would fund most agencies through March 23 but is a nonstarter in the Senate because of Democratic opposition.

Continue reading

(Update) More government shutdown theatrics this week?

These people are just not serious about governing responsibly. For them, everything is about producing propaganda grist for the mighty Wurlitzer of the right-wing noise machine.

Back in 2011 when the Tea-Publicans were holding the government hostage over a manufactured federal debt ceiling “fiscal cliff crisis” — something the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution requires Congress to increase to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debts — the sequestration spending caps idea was born to resolve this manufactured “crisis.”

Spending cuts would apply to mandatory and discretionary spending in the years 2013 to 2021 and be in an amount equal to the difference between $1.2 trillion and the amount of deficit reduction enacted from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. These spending caps would equally affect security and non-security programs. The automatic sequester provisions would go into effect in 2013 if Congress failed to produce a deficit reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts.

At the time, everyone said Congress would never agree to the automatic sequestration caps, and yet, it became law, the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress, of course, failed to do its job and we have been living under the automatic sequestration spending caps since 2013.

There have been repeated attempts to remove the sequestration spending caps on defense spending (while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending). Congress has agreed to several waivers of the spending caps over the years.

This long-running Kabuki theater is now central to the budget dispute in Congress to avoid a government shutdown at midnight on February 8.

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, the “zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” is siding with defense hawks and the radicals of the House GOP Freedom Caucus to bust the sequestration spending caps on defense spending while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending — a move Democrats oppose.

The point of this evil GOP bastard plan is to either roll weak-kneed Senate Democrats or to force them to vote against the House GOP spending plan and to shut down the government, so Tea-Publicans can beat their breasts and claim Democrats do not support our military and national defense. Or as President Trump trotted out yesterday, to assert they are “un-American” and to accuse them of “treason.”
Continue reading