The SAGA to MAGA

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Photo Evan Vucci/ AP posted from The Atlantic

Recently, Congress submitted their Continuing Resolution Bill- essential for funding various departments of the Federal Government. President Trump refused to sign the bill until Congress includes funding for his Border Wall. This refusal has resulted in a partial government shutdown.

The government shutdown will have immediate consequences for many government employees. American workers whom our tax dollars fund for services “non-essential” may not be receiving their paychecks. The shutdown won’t stop there. There is a potential for far more reaching consequences for failing to pass the Continuing Resolution Bill, including hampering domestic and foreign economic relations, lack of funding for many federally funded programs, among other issues.

Historically, most Presidential administrations have experienced partial government shutdowns, including in January 2018. The government also shut down in 2013 when the Senate attempted to utilize the bill as leverage to delay President Obamaʼs Affordable Care Act. The last ditch-effort came after several failed congressional attempts to appeal the legislation.

What is the government arguing about now? Well not really much since Congress is in recess until after the holidays, but mostly the ever-evolving Immigration & Border Security debate. In the last 20 years, people seeking Asylum from Mexican and Central American Countries has grown exponentially, due to instability and rampant corruption in their home countries. Immigrants flood our borders seeking Asylum.

It’s proven to be a daunting process in which Asylum seekers must apply for a hearing to go before an immigration judge who will determine if they qualify under U.S. Policy. The backlog of applications is endless and with few judges, Asylum seekers are housed in detention facilities while they wait their day in court. American tax dollars must fund these detention facilities. These facilities are over-run, understaffed, and overcrowded. In the past few weeks, U.S. border patrol has faced increased public criticism for the deaths of two children in their custody in one of these such facilities.

While President Trump is certainly not the first President to refuse
to sign a funding bill, he’s dug himself into a hole by holding out until Congress approves  appropriation money for his Border Wall.

How is this any different than the previous shutdown under Obama in 2013? The major difference is that Congress voted to pass legislation for President Obamaʼs affordable healthcare act. Our current Congress, currently in Republican majority, has never been able to pass legislation to fund a border wall.

Though promises to follow-through on campaign promises are reasonable expectations for supporters, not all are realistic enough to get majority Congressional support. Several Republicans refuse to publicly endorse the Presidents refusal to sign the bill due to lack of border wall funding. Many are holding out to see how Trumpʼs strategy plays out before making any official public statements of their endorsement.

President Trump knows if he hasn’t been able to find a way to fund the Wall through the congressional majority he currently has, it certainly won’t pass with a freshly elected Democratic lead House. This is quite a gamble for the president and his bid for re-election in 2020. The party that shuts the government down, historically has been penalized by bad publicity- ultimately influencing Congressional incumbents’ elections, especially in swing states and swing districts.

The president has to show he’s dug his heels in for his supporters. However, it is uncertain whether or not his strategy will work.  Government shut-downs have had little to no long standing success in the past. The coming days will be telling of his willingness to compromise. In the meantime, thousands of government workers will continue their jobs without certainty of when they will be compensated.

The SAGA to MAGA continues…

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