We’ve entered day three of the government shutdown. In failing to fulfill the basic duties of government, it is reasonable for us to assign blame and question how in the world we got here. Let’s break it down. You’ll find there is plenty of blame to go around.
Republicans control the House, Senate, and the White House. They set the calendar and the agenda. The voters gave them the majority to do a job. One year into total control and they’ve failed to do their job. Period. This Congress has the ability to pass a long-term funding bill but has only been able to fund short-term continuing resolutions (CR). This is the fourth CR in about five months. That is no way to run a government. Failure in leadership.
Some of the bargaining chips being used by Republicans were self-created crises. It was the Republican Congress that allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire. Months have passed and some states have begun to send notices to families about their status. North Dakota is fortunate and has enough reserves in CHIP to float by until March. As Republicans have liked to point out, this program has historically received bipartisan support. First, this should never have been allowed to lapse. Second, it shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip. They set the calendar and the agenda.
With that said, we can’t ignore the fact that the Senate requires sixty votes. Republicans have fifty-one members. They couldn’t muster fifty-one votes on this short-term funding package. With Republicans breaking away and a handful of moderate Democrats voting with the majority party, it is tough to simplify this as a #SchumerShutdown no matter how desperately the Republican Party tries to push it.
Yet, there is a fair criticism regarding the role of Democrats. Even though polls show a large majority of Americans support a resolution for DREAMERS, I’m not convinced it had to be a part of this short-term funding package. This is where a portion of the blame lands. This program, just as the CHIP program could and should pass as stand-alone bills. Both appear to have bipartisan support. It is on Republican leadership to bring these bills forward. They set the calendar and the agenda.
There is plenty of blame to go around. This shutdown has displayed quite vividly why people have grown to despise Congress and politics. Yes, there is some blame on both sides but you have to put that blame into perspective and proportion. Hopefully, cooler and moderate heads prevail and this shutdown ends soon.