This question came to me a few days ago when the government shut down was looming. Why are Congress and the Senate allowing #45 to hold the country hostage over the wall? If this was an overtly criminal hostage situation, with weapons poised to do harm, a SWAT team would be sent in to perform a rescue. There would be strategy sessions to plan the mission with specially trained personnel at the ready. What is the political equivalent?
In all of my years on the planet and 12 presidents from Eisenhower to Trump, I have never witnessed such turmoil in the White House and subsequently in the country and then by extension, in the world as there is today. The current president is playing the blame game with federal employees as bargaining chips. “It’s not going to reopen until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it,” Trump initially announced.
According to activist Tom Steyer, “Donald Trump is holding the government hostage over an unrealistic and inflammatory promise he made to his supporters,” and added, ”His temper tantrum will cost more than 420,000 federal employees their pay over the holidays, and another 380,000 people will be placed on temporary leave without pay.”
As I have been listening to my go-to news source, NPR, I have discovered that the immediate impact will be minimally felt by most Americans. Try telling that to those employees who were counting on being able to pay their creditors. Try reminding those whose livelihoods hang in the balance for the foreseeable future. Try telling that to those who are expected to show up for work without pay or who were furloughed.
As is his habit, Trump took to the Twittersphere to rally support for his campaign promise, “If Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!” Trump tweeted.
Ironically, those whose paychecks will be affected include those charged with border protection and national security.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Border Patrol
- Transportation Security Administration
Those services intended to continue
The U.S. Postal Service
- Social Security checks would be mailed as planned.
- Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
- Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation would continue.
- The Smithsonian announced and the National Zoo will remain open through Jan. 1 since they had already been funded.
According to a friend who is a tour guide in DC with an encyclopedic knowlege of history and political science,
“Congress could simply override a veto. Of course, they would have to agree upon a figure….. and to be a little cynical, grow some backbone and stand up for their constitutional role. One time I was giving a tour to students, and explaining how the House of Representatives is responsible for initiating fiscal policy. And a few other things. One man came up to me and said “Why don’t you let the kids have recess, bring the congressman out and tell them what they need to do.”
Another friend shared, “Go back to the resolution passed by the House and unanimously passed in the Senate, put it on the President’s desk, then override his veto. Done. But that would take the Republicans defying Trump. Good luck with that.”
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