The federal government remains partially shutdown, and the negative effects just keep piling up. This Wednesday, House Democrats passed a funding package to reopen the closed government agencies tacked onto a disaster relief appropriations package covering areas hit hard by disasters including Hurricanes Florence and Michael and the wildfires that have ravaged California. Alongside the $12.1 billion for those victims, the shuttered government offices would reopen through February 8 under the proposal.
Although Democrats successfully peeled off six Republican House members to support their package, that’s likely the end of the road for it. President Donald Trump has refused to approve any further government funding without over $5 billion for a border wall blocking off Mexico, sparking what’s now the longest government shutdown in American history.
It’s reached such a fever pitch that for the first time ever recently, members of the U.S. Coast Guard found themselves with no pay. They’re among some 800,000 government workers who’ve either been sent home indefinitely or asked to work without pay. Affected agencies range from the Interior Department to the Department of Agriculture, which handles key programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps.
Although President Trump has signed a measure providing back pay for the affected workers once the government reopens — that’s little consolation for the hundreds of thousands who have bills and other normal living expenses to take care of now. Trump has claimed he can “relate” to those affected, but he’s also asserted that he’s willing to have the shutdown extend for months or even years.
So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to join House Democrats in pressuring the administration to change course. The newly passed funding package is at least the seventh the House has put forward, including four that were essentially reboots of previously Senate committee approved spending legislation, but McConnell hasn’t budged. Still, this week the House is taking up yet another funding option, this time providing for the government through February 28.
Although Democrats have shown up for work and then some time and time again, Trump still explicitly states that the entire responsibility for the ongoing shutdown rests on their shoulders. McConnell, meanwhile, has been less direct but has still insisted that the only way forward involves negotiation between the president and Congressional Democrats. They tried that route last week, but Trump infamously and proudly stormed out of a meeting when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said a wall wasn’t on the table. This Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he hadn’t heard from the president since then.
That’s not to say Trump hasn’t been around, though. He’s occupied himself with angry tweets and even holding a fast food buffet for the college football national champions the Clemson Tigers at the White House this week. Ridiculously enough, showing just where he’s left the nation — he said they brought around 1,000 burgers for the team, but it was only 300 or so.
How are we supposed to trust a guy to lead us out of a shutdown who can’t even get the approximate number of burgers he literally stood in front of and supposedly bought correct?
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot