When President Barack Obama was still in the White House, angry Congressional Republicans often threatened to refuse to approve the appropriate government funding bills and thus force a “government shutdown.”
They actually followed through on their threats once, and what followed was a period in which all “non-essential” government services ceased to operate. At the time, National Parks closed and government funded clinical trials were put on hold, among a host of other things.
One of Republicans’ favorite targets while making these threats was the funding for the Affordable Care Act. They would assert something along the lines of, “We won’t sign onto this government funding bill unless the funding for the implementation of the ACA is removed.” Independent of their belligerent demands, however, the implementation of the ACA marched on, and that was that.
Now, however, the tables have turned, and it’s Democrats who are in the position of opposing major projects of the incumbent presidential administration. It’s on that note that the New York Times is now reporting that Senate Democrats are prepared to take their fight over a number of issues to the same point that Republicans have in years prior and force a shut down of the government.
The issues prompting this assertion from the Democrats include, firstly, the proposed U.S./ Mexico border wall, along with the Republicans’ plans to build up a “deportation force” and to defund Planned Parenthood.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined Senate Democrats’ stance in a letter that was co-signed by four of his Democratic colleagues.
That letter reads, in part:
‘We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s administration.’
“Such funding” primarily references, again, the Trump Administration’s plans for a border wall.
The White House is expected to unveil their specific, detailed budget proposal later this week. The deadline to pass an appropriations bill that would fund the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year is April 28, which is in just over a month. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate and budget bills need 60 votes to pass.
Other issues in the soon to be officially unveiled budget proposal from the White House include long touted plans to cut State Department funding by tens of billions of dollars, redirecting those funds to the military.
Stan Collender, who has worked for Democrats on the House and Senate budget committees, commented to the New York Times that issues that prompt a government shutdown or even just create the potential for one are often hyper-emotional. As Collender noted, the proposal for a wall blocking off Mexico is definitely such an issue.
Sen. Schumer commented, according to the New York Times, that “Trump must first explain how he plans to use eminent domain to acquire land along the border, the effects of the construction on the Native Americans and how he plans to persuade Mexico to reimburse the United States for the costs” before he’s willing to sign on to funding the project.
Trump, of course, originally said that Mexico would pay for the wall, but after becoming president and getting a reality check he changed his promise to that Mexico will eventually reimburse us for the wall.
Featured Image via Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images