Congress Drifts Closer To A Government Shutdown

With less than two days to go, the prospects for Congress finding a way to prevent a government shutdown aren't looking good.

government-shutdown-closed-for-business

With just over thirty-six hours left before the current continuing resolution runs out and the Federal Government runs out of spending authority, it’s still unclear how Republicans will resolve a standoff that includes not just the ordinary spending issues but also drags in the debate over immigration and funding for President Trump’s so-called “border wall.” Yesterday, House Republicans put forward a fairly clean Continuing Resolution that would keep the government funded through mid-February but would avoid dealing with controversial issues such as the Deferred Action For Childhood  Arrivals (DACA) program, but it’s not at all clear that this proposal has any chance of passing before midnight on Friday. To begin with, it does not appear that Republicans have enough votes to get the bill through the House of Representatives:

House Republicans are short of the votes they need to avoid a government shutdown, but Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leaders remain confident they will pass a stopgap funding measure when it comes to the floor on Thursday.

President Donald Trump is personally leaning on GOP lawmakers to fall into line, especially hard-line conservatives who are opposed to virtually anything Ryan and his leadership team propose.

(…)

With government funding set to run out on Friday — and the two sides far apart on an immigration deal — Ryan and senior House Republicans are pushing legislation to keep the government funded until Feb. 16. In a bid to pick up votes from both parties, the measure would also fund a popular children’s health program for six more years and delay the implementation of several Obamacare taxes.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and fellow Democrats have refused to back the plan. Since Republicans are in the majority, they should pass the short-term funding bill — the fourth since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1 — without Democrats’ help, they say.

With Democrats on the sidelines, Republicans spent Wednesday leaning on every member for their vote.

“I think it passes. I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but I think it passes,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said after GOP lawmakers met on Wednesday.

With government funding set to run out on Friday — and the two sides far apart on an immigration deal — Ryan and senior House Republicans are pushing legislation to keep the government funded until Feb. 16. In a bid to pick up votes from both parties, the measure would also fund a popular children’s health program for six more years and delay the implementation of several Obamacare taxes.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and fellow Democrats have refused to back the plan. Since Republicans are in the majority, they should pass the short-term funding bill — the fourth since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1 — without Democrats’ help, they say.

With Democrats on the sidelines, Republicans spent Wednesday leaning on every member for their vote.

“I think it passes. I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but I think it passes,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said after GOP lawmakers met on Wednesday.

Restless conservatives have been asking Ryan and other senior Republicans for concessions to get them to yes, though it’s unclear whether they’ll get them. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) said he’s holding out for assurances from GOP leaders that they’ll put a conservative Dreamers bill authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on the floor. But GOP leaders have resisted, fearing a vote would upset bipartisan immigration talks to shield young immigrants from deportation.

Other Freedom Caucus members are pushing to attach a yearlong appropriation for the Pentagon. GOP leaders, however, know that will fail in the Senate, so they aren’t entertaining the idea.

“It’s crisis management at its worst,” Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) complained. “Nobody wants to shut down the government, but if they load this up … they’re going to have a fight on this.”

House Democrats will refuse to bail out GOP leaders if Republicans can’t put up the votes themselves.

“My sense is that everybody’s going to be unified on this. We’re not going to have many defections, if any,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.). “We have no bargaining power if we don’t stay unified.”

When asked whether Democrats would uniformly vote against the bill, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said, “We’ll see what they’re going to do, but I think that’s probably the case.”

During a news conference on Wednesday, Ryan tried to blame Democrats for any problems passing the funding bill, despite the internal GOP schism.

“Real deadlines are occurring this Friday,” the Wisconsin Republican told reporters. “That is why it is unconscionable to me that they would block funding for our military or cut off funding for these states that really will lose their funding for [children’s health] by playing these political games and tying them to unrelated issues.”

House Republicans had hoped to gain some Democratic votes by attaching policy sweeteners to the bill, including children’s health funding and delay of the Obamacare taxes.

But members of the Congressional Black Caucus, whom Republicans had hoped to win over, say they’re still planning to oppose the proposal.

Many CBC members were livid after Trump called certain African nations “shithole countries” during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House last week. They say the episode strengthened their resolve to withhold votes until Republicans show progress on a bipartisan Dreamers deal.

Children’s health funding “alone is probably not going to change much,” said one CBC member, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), after the group’s weekly meeting Wednesday. “Why would we want to send a message to 800,000 young people” that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program “is not important enough to demand action on it in exchange for our support?”

Pelosi implored Democrats to vote against the measure during a caucus meeting Wednesday morning.

“We can’t vote for what they’re putting forth. Not for what’s in it but [for] what’s not in it,” Pelosi told lawmakers, according to an aide in the room. “This is an important moment for our caucus, standing up for what we know is right. … We will not give up our leverage, for our priorities and for our Dreamers.”

Even if the bill managed to pass the House, though, it’s fate in the Senate remains unclear, especially now that the Republican majority has been reduced to just a single seat thanks to the victory of Doug Jones in Alabama’s Special Election last month. In order for the bill to even get to a final vote, Senate  Republicans will need to meet the sixty vote threshold necessary to invoke cloture, and it’s not at all clear that they can do that. As things stand, even if the entire Senate GOP Caucus were to stay united, they’d still need the support of at least nine Senate Democrats to invoke cloture. The problem that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces is that he doesn’t have a united caucus, and it’s unclear what it might take to make that possible and attract enough Democratic support to get a bill to the floor for a final vote. Senator Lindsey Graham has indicated that he’s inclined to oppose another Continuing Resolution, citing both the lack of any measure to deal the DACA issue and the fact that this would be the fourth Continuing Resolution that Congress has passed since the new Fiscal Year began in October. Additionally, Arizona’s John McCain will apparently be unavailable for a vote for the remainder of this week due to his ongoing treatment for cancer. Additionally, Roll Call is reporting that Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota said that he would vote against the currently proposed Continuing Resolution. That means that Senate Republicans would need the votes of eleven Democrats to surpass the sixty-vote threshold. At the moment at least, that appears to be highly unlikely. Already, a large number of Democrats have said that they would oppose any spending bill that didn’t include a DACA fix and it appears that most of the Democrats in the Senate agree with them. The only hope Republicans would appear to have comes from the handful of  Democrats running for re-election in red states or in states that Donald Trump won in 2016, but even if all of those Senators ended up voting with Republicans the GOP would still fall short of the votes they need.

The situation isn’t being helped this morning thanks to yet another tweet storm from the President of the United States, including one that appears to undercut the Continuing Resolution that Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republican leadership hopes to be able to pass later today. As noted above, that bill includes a so-called sweetener in the form of an add-on that would fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for at least the next six years. That program has gone without funding since October, and both Democrats and many Republicans have been calling on Congress to address the issue before the stop-gap measures that the Federal Government and states have taken to keep the program running are out of options. In a tweet this morning, though, Trump said that CHIP funding should be part of a long-term budget rather than included as part of a short-term funding bill that’s largely designed to kick the can down the road. While there’s some merit to that idea, the fact that the President is undercutting his own party’s proposal with so little time left makes it less likely that Republicans will be able to get much cross-party support for their proposal. In separate tweets, Trump said that there should be no budget deal unless it includes funding for his border wall and accused Democrats of not caring about the military since they are willing to risk a shutdown over the DACA issue. This kind of undercutting from the President just makes things more difficult for Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell. Lindsey Graham put it well in remarks to reporters as he arrived on Capitol Hill this morning:

In the end, I suspect that House Republicans will be able to get a bill passed today even taking into account the controversies surrounding the process and that they will be able to so without substantial Democratic support. Much like the health care reform bill they passed last year, it may come down to a handful of votes but there seem to be enough Republicans who remember the disaster that was the 2013 shutdown and are spooked by the possibility of that happening again, especially in a midterm election year that already looks like it will be problematic for the GOP. What’s harder to see right now is a path forward in the Senate. As I noted above, Republicans need Democratic support to even get a bill to the floor for a vote and it’s unclear at the moment how that happens unless the bill includes a DACA fix. Given that, we have the possibility that the government could shut down on the first anniversary of President Trump’s Inauguration. In some ways, that would be the perfect way to mark what has been a seemingly difficult year for an Administration that doesn’t seem capable of tying its shoes before heading out the door in the morning.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Looks like Trump needs to take Graham out golfing again. Worked pretty well the last time. Out there on the back nine, teeing up to take a shot…Hey, what if those aren’t really golf balls????

    What if they’re really….baby orbs from Saudi Arabia? Hit one with your club and it unleashes all kinds of nasty things that swarm you and overwhelm you and mind-control you while Trump claims he sank a hole-in-one while you weren’t looking?

  2. Kathy says:

    The Democrats should co-opt the enemy’s rhetoric and loudly claim “a bad deal is worse than no deal,” to explain their reluctance to vote in favor fo the GOP’s continuing resolution.

  3. Liberal Capitalist says:

    As I look at the GOP held house, Senate and Presidency, the image that pops first in my mind is of a wind up monkey, banging cymbals.

    https://i.makeagif.com/media/8-30-2015/gp-LGS.gif

    Lots of noise, nothing accomplished.

  4. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Quoth THE Donald:

    Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!

    Well, he did not get his shutdown then , but he seems intent on us guiding us into one now.

  5. Todd says:

    You would think that conservatives would have learned by now …

    Even if we have a government shutdown, the only logical way it ends is with the Speaker and Senate Majority leader eventually bringing bills to the floor that will pass with both Democratic and Republican votes … you know, the bill they should have voted on in the first place.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    This is one of the major reasons I will no longer vote for a Republican in any capacity, at any level of government. Even if I were to like an individual candidate, I can’t in good conscience vote for someone whose election would increase the chance of Republican control. The party is completely disfunctional and can’t handle even the basics of running a government.

  7. JohnMcC says:

    @Todd: Learn? My friend, when your ideology provides all the rationale you need to confidently predict the future and explain the past and present…. What is this “learn” stuff?

  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    In a bid to pick up votes from both parties, the measure would also fund a popular children’s health program for six more years and delay the implementation of several Obamacare taxes.

    Says a lot about the current state of the GOP that when it comes down to welfare spending increases or letting minorities continue to stay in the country, that it’s DACA that proves to be the deal breaker.

  9. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    So the POTUS, leader of the so-called family values party, fvcks a porn star a year into his marriage to his 3rd wife, while his son is barely 4 months old.
    And hardly anyone notices.
    How in the fvck did we get here???
    I wonder how much he pays his wife not to divorce him?

  10. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    While I don’t really blame the Democrats much (after the $hit they had to put up with the last time Republicans were the minority) I think it’s sad that they apparently learned the politics of complete and total obstruction all too well. What goes around comes around and all that, and any Republican complaining about these tactics is the absolute height of hypocrisy, but it’s not good for the country, regardless of which side is refusing to participate in their duties.

    Partisanship is going to destroy us.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: In all fairness, the Durbin-Graham deal gave up more on the Dems side than many thought necessary. It was Trump and the Cotton, etc that blew that up. Not the Dems. The Dems were willing to deal.

  12. charon says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    Trump says he will take any DACA deal. Then, a deal is arrived at and brought to him, gives him a bunch of border security stuff he asked for. Oopsie, now he has changed his mind, no deal.

    It should be obvious to the Dems a DACA fix only happens before or with government funding, or else never.

    This is all, all, all on the GOP, period end of report.

  13. Matt Bernius says:

    Wow. So many insignificant tweets that will have absolutely no effect on this process. Who would possibly think that those twitter based cases of “Trump being trump” should be taken seriously. I mean it’s just his twitter account… right?

    /s

  14. KM says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    Partisanship is going to destroy us.

    You’re just figuring that out now? Trump literally ran on a platform that was the polite wording for “vote for me, it makes lib head explode” MAGA is incredible partisan and proud of it.

    Partisanship is blaming the Dems for not bending over far enough for the party in complete control of all of the government. They can pass this without any Dem input like the tax bill but noooooo, it’s the Dems fault for being difficult. They are trying but when you have to work with a bad faith actor like Trump, there’s literally only so much you can do.

  15. KM says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Man, is she going to be surprised when the will gets read!! All that work, all that lie back and think of the paycheck….. then bam! Whoopsie, no money for you!

    He’s not leaving her or Barron a thing – it’s all going to darling Ivanka and maybe the boys. They’ll go the way of Tiffany soon enough, Trumps in name only. It is very VERY clear who the favorite is – you think Ivanka’s gonna split the take with a step-mom who’s 10 years older then her?

    If Melania didn’t get a decent pre-up or something in writing to guarantee her a cut, that woman’s doing a disgusting job with the real possibly he’ll cheat her out of her payment like he does everyone else.

  16. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Jeebus, I thought I made it pretty clear that this is the Republican’s own behavior coming home to roost, but apparently not.

    My simple point is two wrongs don’t make a right. And in this case (while yes, it was Trump and Cotton that screwed up the compromise that was there) the current Democratic position, per Pelosi, is now that it’s completely up to the Republican’s because they are the majority. That’s the same “ain’t our responsibility” BS the R’s pursued when Obama was President (when they were minority and majority). The Constitution isn’t setup that way (President !=King, as everyone here knows and Trump doesn’t) and all members of Congress have responsibilities. Jeering from the sidelines and doing nothing productive obviously WORKS in terms of gaining political power (R’s did it for years and now control everything), but it’s pretty $hitty for the country overall. That doesn’t mean I think the Dems should bend over and take it up the you know what, or agree to bad deals. I just mean I don’t like a whole party refusing to participate and doing nothing but throwing stones (even if the R’s deserve to be stoned for their BS of the last 15+ years). I didn’t like it when the R’s did it, and I don’t like it now.

    And KM, I’ve been complaining about excessive partisanship since the time I became an ex-Republican (about 2002), so no, I’m not just noticing it now.

  17. charon says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    I just mean I don’t like a whole party refusing to participate and doing nothing

    That is all they can do, literally. Whether any bill or even any amendment is brought forward is completely controlled by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. You can not force people to work with you who simply will not, this is a process totally controlled by Mitch, Paul and Donnie..

  18. Steve V says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: They need at least nine Democratic votes. The only reason they need those votes is because they decided to use their reconcilition bill to destroy Obamacare. The Dems are letting them off easy.

  19. James Pearce says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Who would possibly think that those twitter based cases of “Trump being trump” should be taken seriously. I mean it’s just his twitter account… right?

    Lindsey Graham: We don’t have a reliable partner in the White House…

    Democrats: But the tweets!

  20. charon says:

    @Steve V:

    They need at least nine Democratic votes.

    Or more. There are at least 3 GOP votes they won’t get, maybe more, plus McCain and Cochran are not there all the time.

    I would rate their prospects of getting 12 or 14 or whatever Dems as not good.

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @Todd:

    You would think that conservatives would have learned by now …

    Recent history (2 shutdowns during the Obama years) tells them that there are no negative consequences. That’s what they’ve learned. Maybe, perhaps, outside chance, this time will be different. I’m not an optimist.

  22. An Interested Party says:

    Why should Democrats cooperate with reptilian critters

  23. MarkedMan says:

    There is another alternative. They could do what was routinely done in the past. They could drop their most extreme members and go looking for compromise significant enough that they could get a serious number of Dems on board. They might loose 10 Republicans in the Senate, but if they picked up 25 Dems it would be a real victory. And take power away from their own crazies. But I’m not holding my breath…

  24. charon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The problem with that is that it is a three-way negotiation, not just negotiation among legislators, Donnie Dementia is a player too. As long as it seems likely Donnie will insist on his big beautiful wall poison pill, where is the deal coming from?

    McConnell has been saying he will not move on a bill until he knows what Donnie wants. But how does anyone know what Donnie wants while he keeps changing his mind and contradicting himself? And even a lot of Republicans realize how stupid the wall idea is.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Learn? My friend, when your ideology provides all the rationale you need to confidently predict the future and explain the past and present

    Read Erick Erickson around the time of the 2013 shutdown to get an idea of how they rationalize it. Erickson argued that as long as the Republicans held their ground, it was a certainty that Dems would eventually “blink.” After the 2013 standoff ended with no Democratic concessions at all, he argued that the problem was that the Republicans gave up too quickly.

    That’s the logic we’re dealing with. It’s an unfalsifiable theory because these shutdowns never succeed in their goals but they never convince the believers that they wouldn’t have succeeded if the officials executing the shutdown had stood firm for just a little longer.

    And this is definitely a GOP problem, not a Trump problem. A more competent leader might have been able to prevent this situation, and certainly Trump has done everything in his power to exacerbate it. But the reason we’re even at this point is years of GOP dysfunction, not just in practice but in terms of their whole philosophy in which they tell each other that they can achieve anything as long as they stamp their feet a little harder. (Keep in mind that Erickson is a NeverTrumper.)

  26. Kylopod says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    Jeebus, I thought I made it pretty clear that this is the Republican’s own behavior coming home to roost, but apparently not.

    OT, but your receiving 5 downvotes is an excellent example of why I suggested a few weeks ago that we get rid of the downvote button. It’s being used as a way of ostracizing commenters who simply express an opinion that’s unpopular here, even when its presented in a polite and non-trollish manner.

  27. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @charon: This is where the problem for the Democrats come vis a vis “giving the GOP a taste of their own medicine.” As I noted in a past post, the nation elects Republicans to obstruct (or at least seems to), but it elects Democrats to enact legislation and operate a government. If this exercise in can kicking (the GOP can’t even get its own people to agree to operate the government for 30 freaking days,,,[sigh]) goes south, it is possible for the Democrats to be perceived as the bad guys because “that’s not what we elect them to do; we expect them to get things passed.”

    Yeah, you and I know that this is all on the GOP, but the 30-some% of the electorate that makes up the 80-some percent of GOP who are just fine with Trump and whatever percentage of the mostly uninvolved who are totally witless and don’t care (but do vote) may disagree with us. With unfortunate consequences in 2018.

  28. charon says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    The President will be in Florida tomorrow while the government shuts down. He will be in Davos Switzerland on Monday for some Pow-wow.

    I do not think the GOP is as good at the optics game as you fear.

    These low-info voters think the Prez is like a king, they will blame him. Apart, of course, from him actually being the right party most responsible.

  29. charon says:

    @charon:

    P.S. Mike Pence will be out of town also, so he is not planning on being a player.

  30. charon says:

    P.P.S. I’ll just through this out to show I’m not alone in my thoughts …

    https://twitter.com/HoarseWisperer

    Me: Man, I hope Dems manage to find a signature image which pins the shutdown on Repubs

    The news: Trump heading to Mar a Lago tomorrow…

    Me: We’re good here.

  31. rachel says:

    @KM: I’ve said it before: she should take Barron and all the loot she can carry and then leave.

  32. JohnMcC says:

    @rachel: Can’t believe I’m passing along a gossip-ish item but what can one do? Some time during the campaign when Melania’s immigration status was a bit of an issue I read (on the internet where no one ever lies!) that she had essentially negotiated a condo and income for her parents as well as whatever is lined up in the pre-nup. Made me think that she was somewhat more admirable than…. well, than I’d thought previously. The picture I was left with was that she’d evaluated her career and decided that marriage to Mr Trump was the best of a not-great situation and she made the best deal she could. Somehow that seemed to fit.

    I’m going to take a chlorox shower now.

  33. KM says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s being used as a way of ostracizing commenters who simply express an opinion that’s unpopular here, even when its presented in a polite and non-trollish manner.

    I’ve never paid attention to votes – they’re literally a mark of popularity, not quality. If the post turns red or yellow, I read them all. I don’t use them – I prefer replies if I thought it was important enough to express an opinion on.

    Just Another Ex-Republican got commented on – by me at least – because of the phrasing. It came across as very “both sides do it”. Now, if that wasn’t the intention then the wording and phrasing worked against him. This is text only – we can only devise context from the word choices used. When your post starts out has a variation of “I’m not X buuuuutttt…..” it taints the perception of the rest of the post.

    This is one of those cases where “both sides do it” is blatantly shifting blame. People are objecting because trying to make any of this shitshow the Dems fault completely misses the point. They are NOT obstructing – they literally CAN’T because that implies they have the power to prevent this from passing. What’s happening is they are being offered horrible, damaging terms without the ability to get favorable things they really want and are being castigating for not gleefully taking them by the same people offering those terms. It’s like an abusive spouse offering the choice of a beating or a burn and then complaining said spouse never participates in the decision making process making them the bad guy.

    It’s not an “unpopular opinion” – it’s revisionist history live. Again, that does’t seem to be what @Just Another Ex-Republican intended but that’s what came across to me and other posters.

  34. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    They are NOT obstructing – they literally CAN’T because that implies they have the power to prevent this from passing.

    That isn’t strictly correct. Dems still have the filibuster.

    It’s not an “unpopular opinion” – it’s revisionist history live. Again, that does’t seem to be what @Just Another Ex-Republican intended but that’s what came across to me and other posters.

    Semantics. Opinions you disagree with very often will sound unreasonable until you take the time to listen to them. Or maybe this particular opinion was unreasonable, but as you acknowledge, that was hardly intentional. If that’s the case, then the proper response is to explain why that’s so, not to jump down the poster’s throat.

    We have some real trolls on this forum. We have commenters who spew vile racism or, barring that, childish name-calling. To me, the only legitimate purpose of a “downvote” button is to flag comments in those categories–comments that are blatantly disruptive, trollish, and/or vile. That’s why I suggested a few weeks ago that if we decide to keep a downvote option, it should be called a “troll vote” or simply “flag.”

    But in practice, from what I’ve seen in the years this blog has included a downvote option is that readers use it as a way of saying “I disagree.” I’ve seen it used for the most innocuous of posts simply because they go against the consensus of the mostly liberal commentariat here. In short, it’s negative cheerleading. And it sends a clear signal that people who hold views that aren’t popular here are unwelcome.

    The highest amount of downvotes I ever received in my several years commenting at OTB came in the summer of 2016, when I wrote a series of comments arguing that Donald Trump had an electoral college advantage over Hillary Clinton. (I was simply reporting what I had read on 538.) I was completely correct, as the eventual election results showed, but apparently a bunch of readers found my opinion unacceptable. Why was that? Because, quite simply, it was something they didn’t want to hear.

    That’s how bubbles are created. We spend our time deriding the conservative bubble, and for good reason, but there are liberal bubbles too. I’m not engaging in both-sides-ism. The conservative bubble is a lot worse–far more detached from reality. But there is a liberal bubble, and it does sometimes lead people to incorrect conclusions, such as the idea that Donald Trump could never be elected president of the US–a belief that was indirectly responsible for his election because it led to complacency among those who could have stopped him.

  35. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @charon: CNN is reporting that Trump has decided to stay in DC if the gubmint shuts down.

    I will also note that I wish I were as confident as you are about the importance of the GOP’s ability at optics. If the Dems can be portrayed as having been derelict, the masses will gravitate toward that opinion if my suppositions about role are accurate. On Tuesday, the question on a Portland, OR local news show was already “What will happen if the Democrats decide to shut down the government. Already, “Blame the Ds” in place.

  36. KM says:

    @Kylopod :

    That isn’t strictly correct. Dems still have the filibuster.

    And then the Repubs go nuclear. They already have so why wouldn’t they again? I probably should have said de facto helpless since their options will do them little good Much like real nukes, they’re effectively useless unless you want to burn it all down which in this case defeats the purpose.

    If that’s the case, then the proper response is to explain why that’s so, not to jump down the poster’s throat.

    That can also be argued as a case of semantics – one person’s phrasing can be seen as unnecessarily harsh instead of just blunt. I admit to less then delicate phrasings but have gone out of my way to explain why I think something’s incorrect. My original point was that the narrative is rapidly becoming “Dems cause the shutdown” even among other libs and it’s not true To see this meme spread over to our side just goes to show how in control the Republicans really are because they are setting our messaging for us and we just accept it.

    I keep going back to the analogy of an abused spouse because it is frighteningly similar. Being told you’re not trying hard enough or are not doing it right, being told it’s your responsibility to stop the abuse even though you are physically unable, asserting there’s options that aren’t really viable even if they technically exist….. it all takes away from the abuser’s actions and agency to put pressure on the victim. I’m frankly amazed at how quickly libs are internalizing the learned helplessness routine Repubs are handing them – we should have cooperated and then we would have just had a black eye and not a broken wrist. We shouldn’t have “obstructed” even though the obstruction is token resistance against someone who can and will overpower us if they want.

    @Just Another Ex-Republican was wrong – partisanship isn’t what’s going to destroy us, it’s the insane urge to justify “both sides do it”.

  37. KM says:

    @Just ‘nutha ign’int cracker :
    Damn, beat me to it.

    Yeah, it’ll stick and it’s depressing. Dems should have tried harder or something. Look what we made them do.

  38. charon says:

    @Just ‘nutha ign’int cracker:

    Already, “Blame the Ds” in place.

    Maybe, but will it work? Maybe not.

    By a 20-point margin, more Americans blame President Trump and Republicans rather than Democrats for a potential government shutdown, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    A 48 percent plurality says Trump and congressional Republicans are mainly responsible for the situation resulting from disagreements over immigration laws and border security, while 28 percent fault Democrats. A sizable 18 percent volunteer that both parties are equally responsible. Political independents drive the lopsided margin of blame, saying by 46 to 25 percent margin that Republicans and Trump are responsible for the situation.

    There are other considerations than short-term optics …

    1- Doing what is the right thing.

    2. Demonstrating willingness to fight for what you stand for supposedly.

    3. Solidifying the GOP reputation as the bigot party for a long time to come.

  39. charon says:

    @KM:

    Nuking the filibuster no help, the R’s do not have 50 votes, probably no more than 46.

  40. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    And then the Repubs go nuclear.

    You could make the same argument about the Dems in 2009. Why didn’t they just go nuclear (as some liberal activists at the time wanted them to) in response to the GOP’s use of the filibuster? Did their failure to do so imply the GOP was not being obstructionist? The Dems didn’t hit the nukes until 2013, and even then it was limited to executive branch appointments and judicial appointments other than SCOTUS. In 2017, after Dems filibustered Gorsuch in retaliation for the GOP’s refusal to consider Obama’s pick the previous year, the GOP finally nuked the filibuster for SCOTUS appointments. But so far they haven’t attempted to nuke the legislative filibuster, even though in theory they could have at any time over the last year. The reason is probably the same as for the Dems in 2009: even though it’s a pain in the butt for them at the moment, they know they won’t be in power forever and they believe the filibuster will eventually be useful to them again. Indeed, the Dems’ choice to go partially nuclear in 2013 (which ended up making it easier for Republicans to get appointments through after they regained power) drove that point home.

    I admit to less then delicate phrasings but have gone out of my way to explain why I think something’s incorrect.

    I wasn’t objecting to your response to JAER; what I was objecting to was the downvotes. A lot of us get 1 or 2 downvotes on occasion, but getting 8 for a comment that’s not in the least bit trollish or morally repugnant seems wrong to me. I understand that you don’t pay a whole lot of attention to these things, but I just don’t think it’s helpful.

  41. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Pointing out “both sides do it” does not automatically mean that both sides bear equal responsibility or guilt. It’s merely pointing out that the mud on someone else’s shoes doesn’t excuse the mud on mine.

    There was an article several years ago about filibusters (found the link: https://theprogressivecynic.com/2013/03/11/the-two-filibusters/) that included a fascinating chart about halfway through (whole article is worth a read, but the chart is what matters here). In the early 70’s the R’s drastically increased the use of the filibuster (which I consider obstructionist) by the minority. When the D’s became the minority they maintained (roughly) that higher rate. Next time the R’s became a minority, they upped the rate yet again. Next time D’s went minority, they again “kept up” with the latest pace. Pattern repeats a couple more times to 2012 (sorry–like I said, article is a little old). To me though, it’s nearly a 50 year pattern of the R’s upping the filibuster ante, and the D’s playing tit for tat. That is not revisionist history or some insane desire to say both sides do it, but just the actual facts.

    Does that mean I blame D’s as much as R’s? Nope–the chart makes it exceedingly clear it’s one party consistently making it worse and that is who I blame.

    The post I linked to is specifically about the filibuster, which is only one type of obstruction. The only thing I’d “blame” the D’s is I think they are playing on the field the R’s have laid out (where obstructing government is seen as an end in itself) instead of finding a way to change the playing field themselves (and I freely admit that it’s much easier for some stupid Internet commentator to say they should do that than it would be for the D’s to actually do so).

    Look, this pending shutdown is entirely on the R’s as far as I’m concerned. They’ve created the whole shutdown dynamic with their debt ceiling BS over the years, combined with the idiocy of their default position that government is always bad (unless it’s military related). What Pelosi said is 100% accurate in terms of the House (the D’s really don’t matter), but not in terms of Congress overall (otherwise the Senate wouldn’t be in knots right now). Political junkies like us get the difference–a lot of others don’t. I would rather Pelosi (and all D’s) had kept the focus on pointing out that the R’s are refusing to agree to something that their own negotiators agreed to, that their own voters support (70% or so for both a DACA and CHIP fix), that their own partisans blew up, and that all they have to do to keep the military funded (or whatever other guilt trip the R’s pullout) is to stop pandering to the extreme right and agree with the bulk of their own R voters on those issues. Keep the very reasonable deal front and center and *shift the ground* to what government should be capable of doing when vast majorities of the country agree and away from fringe positions and the perniciously dangerous idea that there is such a thing as a “good shutdown”. Walking away saying “totally up to them” may be factually true in her exact situation, but (to me) just helps the R’s continue their decades long project to undermine the basic concept of how our government is supposed to work in the first place. I actually don’t care if both sides do it or not–I want MY side to “go high when they go low”, as Obama put it last year. Which I what I tried to say without writing a novella the first time.

    Switching gears to comment etiquette, since that’s come up. My initial post didn’t even mention the shutdown (really-scroll back up and look)–I focused exclusively on Pelosi’s tactics and obstructionism in general. I agree with KM that all we have is text and can’t divine full meaning. Since we all agree on that, wouldn’t it have been nice if people had stuck to *my actual text* 🙂
    Instead of assuming I was recommending the D’s should just take whatever bad deal the R’s offered, blaming the D’s for the impending shutdown, or whatever other nonsense they imagined I meant? Going further and saying it’s my fault they interpreted something (I didn’t type) the way they did is an extra nice touch. Could have asked for clarification, you know.

    I’ve been reading this blog for about 8 years or so (even if I rarely comment myself–can’t remember the last time I made 3 comments on one post or even 3 posts in one month). Things here seem much less respectful (as far as I can tell) in the comments section than it used to be (I blame Trump ;), or at least his election–people are angrier in general). And that’s actually my non-humorous point in this paragraph. When someone dares to say that D’s aren’t always perfect or that Trump/R’s aren’t always terrible, but you’re so annoyed at current reality that you immediately blow the commenter off and attribute to them beliefs they have NEVER stated, typed (or held), maybe you better rethink your own gut reactions. I don’t want OTB to turn into an echo chamber as bad as Redstate (or whatever nuthouse you care to name), but that’s how it starts. Sure, a relatively small # of commenters here have a long history of posting BS and deserve sarcasm, but that shouldn’t be the default response to everyone else. If your immediate reaction to a fairly mild comment that I wish Pelosi and the D’s hadn’t adopted R tactics was to read a ton of additional things into a paragraph that weren’t actually there, start down voting, and responding to that imaginary comment with sarcasm, well, that’s a good way to get your own echo chamber started (and why I agree with Kylopod on what downvoting has turned into).

    I wonder if anyone actually read all this? 🙂

  42. Scott O says:

    @KM:

    “And then the Republicans go nuclear”

    So let the Republicans go nuclear. Next time Dems are in power they can follow president.

  43. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Two wrongs do not make a right. Do unto others what you would have done unto you. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. We go high when they go low.

    Or not.

  44. Scott O says:

    “We go high …”

    Doesn’t seem to be working. Also, precedent, not president.

  45. JohnMcC says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: I hope I don’t twist the story-line or something about the ‘thumbs-up/thumbs-down’ feature if I give you a ‘t’s-up’ on that. Read it all. I see you re-read your comments (as do I) and write fairly carefully (as I wish I did).

    Sorry you had a troublesome experience. I had a similar colloquy with a person here about drug policy – arguing purposelessly over small differences and misunderstandings. Wouldn’t do that if we’d been over a table littered with coffee cups.

    We ‘political junkies’ from both Red & Blue are walking around daily, hourly in a state of anxiety and anger. Interferes with communication. Bad for peace of mind.

    Recommend regular hiking trips — deep woods, no news.