The U.S. government Shutdown ends with a deal: The Key Takeaways
The U.S. government “shutdown” was definitely, a huge news that seized the headlines of almost every major newspaper – world’s most powerful country is closed.
For the people who missed the entire encounter, the shutdown of the U.S federal government began at midnight EST on Saturday, January 20, 2018, after a failure to clear a ‘continuing resolution’ bill to fund the government and its operations (to know more read the earlier article).
On Monday, President Trump signed, behind closed doors of the White House, a bill officially capping off a 69-hour display of partisan dysfunction which led to a government shutdown, the signed bill will disburse funds to run the federal operations until February 8, according to sources.
Both the houses of the Congress voted the bill earlier on Monday, extending funds for next three weeks, only because of the deal reached between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. It was mainly on bipartisan grounds related to the immigration issues.
The lower chamber passed the ‘continuing resolution’ with 266-159, which is 36 additional yes votes than the last week resolution passed in the same chamber.
In the upper chamber, the Senate, the measure needed 60 votes, to avoid any filibuster or disruptions, and the Democrats provided 33 of the 81 it got. Again 18 Senators, from both parties, voted against the bill.
Key takeaways from the shutdown: Winners and Losers
Finally some breathing space to Trump’s team, he has overcome the first shutdown of his administration. Surprisingly, President Trump was holding his horses on Twitter, also he didn’t make any big public appearance during the last two days either, which did not aggravate the mayhem. Disruptions were minimal, as assured by his administration, the National parks were kept open, as in previous shutdowns, these parks got a national attention.
As a lead to Trump, Democrats have now fed the propaganda of Trump branding them as “Obstructionists”, which may intensify in full swing from now on.
Senate Minority leader Schumer said “A great deal-making president sat on the sidelines,” with him many joined the chorus of blaming the President that he was a bystander during the entire issue.
Comparing to the consequences of the previous government shutdowns, the present was a short one with a minimal damage, which can be taken as a sheer victory to the government.
Republican caucus was for this time united even during the Friday’s shutdown vote, they had a simple message – ‘No negotiations when a ‘shutdown’ gun is pointed at their head’. Sounds accustomed? Yes, the same logic used by the Democrats in 2013.
Republicans has now conceded to vote on a reform in immigration in Senate. In reality, many Republicans wanted the same, a permanent solution to the “Dreamers”, who immigrated to the U.S. as children and now facing a danger of deportation.
On another angle, while Republicans making their message loud and clear, Democrats were the ones locking the horns with the government to win a legal protection for “illegal immigrants and Dreamers”, going with media polls and news reports, looks like the public opinion sided with the Democrats.
Experts are clear that the shutdown is a blow to the Republicans as this is the first time a shutdown was made when one party controlled both White House and the Congress. Taking on the account, the mid-term elections, if the voters divert their wrath on the incumbent government, then Republicans will, unfortunately, bear the brunt of the blame.
Also, Majority leader’s guarantee of an immigration vote could be used against him or the party if no action is taken till February 8.
Well, the Democrats played their cards well, all given options.
Ten Democrats supposedly are up for re-election in the mid-term 2018. Now that the deal is reached with Democrats cooperation and their victory on standing with the “Dreamers” will have boosted the public opinion to some extent. Which, in theory, shields them from being blamed for an extended shutdown.
As Anthony Zurcher writes “They were able to convince a few Republicans – Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – to fight by their side. They are also more likely to win over other sympathetic senators, like Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in future battles by backing down now.”
As a part of the deal reached, Children’s Health Insurance Program is now re-authorized for next six years. Democrats have been stubborn that Republicans let this program terminate in September and they have been demanding that it be restored again. It’s a victory but sadly overlooked.
“Today’s cave by Senate Democrats — led by weak-kneed, right-of-centre Democrats – is why people don’t believe the Democratic Party stands for anything,” writes Stephanie Taylor of Progressive Change Campaign Committee in a press statement.
Anthony Zurcher writes in his article “Even more telling is that nearly every 2020 Democratic hopeful in the Senate – Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Ron Wyden – were against reopening the government. Their position is that Mr McConnell’s guarantees of an intent to have an immigration vote – if no deal is reached in three weeks and the Democrats don’t shut down the government again – are written in sand.”
So save the date, February 8, perhaps the U.S. may face another showdown, which may arrive with any less acrimony than the last one.
Another “Shutdown”? Maybe or may not.
Time and Politics will tell.