Let the government shut down. We don’t need them. Once we realize we don’t need them, our bargaining power rises significantly.
When the federal government shuts down, it doesn’t really. The FBI keeps sleuthing, the military stays on guard, and the IRS keeps looking for tax cheats.
What happens is that a fraction of federal workers get a vacation. To garner public support for a budget deal that “reopens” the government, popular attractions and functions will close. For example, national parks will not allow visitors. This is called “the Washington Monument strategy.”
President Trump should let the government shut down.
President Trump on Tuesday cast doubt on Washington’s ability to avoid a government shutdown, writing on Twitter that he didn’t believe a deal could be reached with Democrats.
The tweet came hours before Trump is to meet at the White House with GOP congressional leaders as well as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“Meeting with ‘Chuck and Nancy’ today about keeping government open and working,” Trump tweeted.
“Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”
Democrats have demanded that a funding deal include language to protect young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” who are threatened with deportation next year because of Trump’s decision to end an Obama-era program.
The White House and Republicans in Congress have countered with heavy demands on border enforcement.
The current funding bill, brokered in a surprise deal between Trump and Democrats in September that caught Republicans off-guard, expires on Dec. 8. The deal also irritated congressional Republicans and conservatives, which could explain Trump’s tweet on Tuesday.
In the past, Trump has flirted with the idea of a government shutdown, saying that it might be necessary in order to win support for a wall on the Mexican border.
There has been some talk of a short-term deal, lasting a matter of weeks, that could provide time for the White House and lawmakers to negotiate a longer funding deal for the rest of the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30.
Another complication is the fight over separate legislation to change the tax code. Democrats oppose the measure, which may receive a Senate vote this week.
Trump hopes to complete work on the tax bill before the end of the year, but that will require Senate passage and then another round of talks to work out differences between the House and Senate tax bills. Both chambers would also have to vote on the compromise bill.
All of that has the potential to raise tensions surrounding the funding bill, where Democrats and Republicans have differences that go well beyond the thorny immigration issue.
Chuck and Nancy cancelled their meeting with Trump today. That’s called political grandstanding. I think it may make it easier for Trump to blame them for a government shutdown. Let them babble on about protecting immigrants while Trump plays them for the shut down.