January 20, 2018

Republicans Vote for a Shutdown

Republicans vote for a shutdown

After the American Century

Only 45 Republicans voted for the budget bill that would keep the government open. They have 51 seats, barely enough for a majority, but need more than a simple majority. Under Senate rules, they need 60 votes to end debate and then vote on the bill. According to the New York Times, five Republicans who voted against included the majority leader, Mitch "ConMan" McConnell. He voted against his own party, and yet was later on the radio blaming the Democrats for shutting down the government. John McCain, who is not in good health, was the only senator who did not vote.

McConnell has been an incompetent, self-serving embarrassment as party leader. So little legislation has been passed in the last year and he has been so divisive, that he ought to resign and let someone else try their hand at it. Consider the situation. There ought to have been a budget by Christmas, but instead, McConnell only produced a continuing resolution that kicked the can down the road to yesterday's deadline. There is still no budget, and the Democrats were asked once again to vote for a temporary extension of last year's budget. This is no way to run the legislature. If the Republicans cannot manage to produce a budget when they control both houses of Congress and the White House, it is a sign of gross incompetence. 

Not all Democrats were against the bill. Five supported it, including te newly seated Doug Jones from Alabama. He voted for the bill, though one might have thought that a lawyer famous for defending civil rights might have voted no. The other Democratic turncoats were, like Jones, from swing states where moderation is the safe road to re-election: North Dakota, Missouri, West Virginia, and Indiana.

For readers abroad, who may not know what this means, the shutdown only affects the Federal government. I heard an incompetent "expert" on the radio this morning declare that because of the shutdown all the schools in the US would close on Monday and that no one would be able to take a driving test. This is not the case, as both are State (not Federal) functions. Likewise, if someone needs a marriage license, that is a local matter. But a shutdown, at least in theory, could stop airport security (it will not) and close all the national parks (it will). The tax offices will be closed and all federal employees in Washington will get an unpaid "vacation" until Congress starts to do its job.

Meanwhile, the Republicans will try to convince the public that the Democrats are responsible for the shutdown.