10 Thoughts on the 2018 Federal Government Shutdown

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The federal government is shut down. Again. We’ve been down this road before, with 18 other government shutdowns since 1976. Those events lasted anywhere from three to 21 days. The most recent came in 2013, when the government closed for 16 days. Here’s what political pundits and politicians from across the spectrum are saying about only the second U.S. government shutdown since 1996.

A sign from the 2013 government shutdown at the Statue of Liberty. © Z22

10. “GOP now labeling the likely partial government closing the “Schumer shutdown,” hoping that this time Republicans will not be blamed. Their challenge is that, no matter who deserved it, the public has always blamed the GOP for past shutdowns.”

— Fox News political analyst Brit Hume


9. “Hard for Ds to say this is a GOP shutdown if most Rs vote to keep gov’t open & they’re joined by red state Ds.”

New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin


8. “The House bill has been rejected with bipartisan opposition. Time for a deal that solves the issues the vast majority of Americans support — funding the government, reauthorizing CHIP and protecting Dreamers.”

— Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), sounding a moderate tone on the shutdown in noting that the shutdown was bipartisan. A handful of Democratic and Republican senators voted against party lines. However, a few hours earlier, Harris laid the blame squarely on Republicans, tweeting, “The only thing standing in the way is the chaos out of the White House and partisanship of Republican leaders in Congress.”


7. “It’s clear that negligence and incompetence are in the Republican DNA. This is the first time I can ever recall a party with control of the White House and BOTH chambers of Congress causing a government shutdown.”

— Nancy Pelosi, incorrectly noting that such a shutdown is unprecedented. President Jimmy Carter and a Democratic Congress prevailed over five shutdowns during his administration.


6. “The Democrats are trying to spin the media and the public into thinking that the shutdown is the Republicans’ responsibility. … It remains the case that the government would be fully open for business if Democrats had not voted against a bill — a bill, again, which has nothing of substance they oppose — to get leverage for the policy they favor. The Democrats’ negotiating stance is: Give us this amnesty, or we’ll make the government shut down and blame you Republicans for it. It is the exact tactic they decried in 2013, when Republicans refused to pass legislation to keep the government funded unless Democrats agreed to a partial repeal of Obamacare.”

— Conservative site NationalReview.com


5. “Democrats and Republicans may disagree on spending levels and on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but they seem to becoming around to the same conclusion: President Trump is a nightmare and largely responsible for the shutdown. Republicans won’t say that flat out, but more are saying it obliquely.”

— Jennifer Rubin, in the Washington Post


4. “The Democrats in the Senate are opposing a bill that they don’t oppose. This is purely an attempt by the Senate Democrats … to try and get a shutdown that they think this president gets blamed for.”

— Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. Democrats have flooded social media with the top-trending hashtag #TrumpShutdown.


3. “The perversity of the current situation is that Trump has always publicly maintained that he wants to do something to help the DREAMers — repeatedly using the word “love” in this context. That, for obvious reasons, has raised expectations among Democrats and immigration activists that there is a deal to be struck. … Instead, by veering from handshake deals with “Chuck and Nancy” to profane rants about “shithole” countries, Trump has confused everyone and brought the political system to the breaking point.”

— Progressive site Vox.com, blaming the shutdown ultimately on President Trump’s lack of leadership in achieving new DACA legislation.


2. “Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border. Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy.”

— President Donald Trump, in a tweet

1. “We’re now one year into the Trump era, and politics seems more nasty, divided and polarized than ever. A government shutdown is imminent over immigration policy. Congress hasn’t passed a single, major bipartisan bill. President Trump’s approval rating among Democrats has fallen to 5 percent. Some reports suggest that a quarter of Americans have real animosity toward the other party. … By some measures, the United States is more partisan than ever, but that more peaceful and unified past, that golden age of unity, was … pretty much never.”

— Julia Azari, in an excellent commentary on FiveThirtyEight.com entitled, “Politics is more partisan now, but it’s not more divisive.” Although Washington has seemed to be a dysfunctional mess in recent years, Azari makes the point that those conditions have more often than not been the rule, rather the exception.


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