Op-ed: Whose To Blame for the Shut Down? -Christian Costa

The United States Senate failed to meet a midnight deadline for a temporary government-spending bill last Friday night and sent the federal government into its first shutdown since 2013. In October of 2013 the government shut down and it lasted 16 days affecting various services, such as national parks, as well as leaving many government workers at home. It is anticipated that this shutdown may look a different from what was experienced in 2013, but the unanswered questions are why is the federal government shutting down again, and who is to blame?

President Trump Twitter account condemning the shutdown and blaming Senate Democrats

In an article released shortly after the missed deadline, Fox News outlined some of the differences to be expected during this shutdown. All mandatory spending, including Social Security, is scheduled to be paid as normal. The Fox News article notes that some agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, were expecting the shutdown and managed to navigate funds to allow most employees to keep working. However, most federal government agencies and offices, including Capitol Hill staffers, will either stop working, or continue without pay. That includes military personnel.

In a number of tweets, President Trump has called for the Senate to approve another temporary spending bill saying that the shutdown would be bad for the military and Americans. While many have said that the comments from the president regarding the military are false, the shutdown will mean that members of the military will continue working without pay until a deal on funding is reached. Members of the armed forces will be paid back when the government reopens, but a series of short-term funding bills creates a lack of stability and an inability to plan ahead for the armed forces. In April of 2017, General David Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force explained how these short-term funding bills are bad for long-term planning, and put the military in a compromising situation.

It is also important to note that in the temporary spending bill would have been a 6-year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP is a program favored by Democrats, and Republicans were hoping its inclusion would serve as a concession and bring Democrats to vote for the temporary funding bill.

So, who is to blame for this shutdown? The mainstream media has said it is the Republican Senate that is to blame, but I believe they may be leading Americans astray. President Trump met with the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D – NY) yesterday to discuss potential compromises. Senator Schumer made it clear to the president that the only way Democrats would vote on a funding bill was if it included an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program protects illegal immigrants brought the country as children, but is set to expire in March. The president has told Congress they have until then to come up with a permanent solution, since DACA was meant to be a temporary protection. This did not stop Senate Democrats from rejecting the temporary funding bill due to its lack of a DACA solution.

President Donald Trump calling for more Republican wins in the upcoming elections in response to the Senate failing to pass a budget.

The House of Representatives passed a funding extension, but it failed in the Senate where 60 vote were needed to move to a final vote. The vote was 50-48, with Senator McCain (R – AZ) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY) not included.

Many are blaming the shutdown on Republicans, but with 60 votes needed, it was the democrat minority party that had the final say to block the vote. This lead to a tweet from the President this morning calling for more Republicans to be elected in the vital 2018 midterms. Many are upset that the democrats were willing to sacrifice a deal on CHIP while fighting to protect illegal immigrants. The debate is sure to continue while the government remains in shutdown.

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