Why A Government Shutdown Is A Bad Idea

 

 

There are some issues that conservatives of good conscience can disagree on and remain well within core conservative principles. One of these is the issue of shutting down the government. As President Trump and congressional Republicans consider shutting down the government over funding for the “big, beautiful wall,” they should avoid falling into what is Democrat trap.

The core problem for Republicans is a lack of votes. Although Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress, the margins are slim and they lack the 60 votes required to end a Democrat filibuster. As a legislative strategy, a government shutdown does nothing to resolve this problem.

The only way for Republicans to pass a bill funding the wall – or anything else for that matter – is to make Democrats and moderate Republicans change their votes. The way to do that is to sweeten the pot. To give Democrats something they want in exchange for something that Republicans want.

A shutdown would do the opposite. It would be a combative policy that would further alienate Democrats and give them no incentive at all to vote for the Republican bill. In fact, a government shutdown would play directly into the hands of Democrats who want nothing more than for the Trump Administration to fail.

Further, if Republicans are determined to pick a fight, the border wall is the wrong issue.  Polling indicates that about two-thirds of Americans oppose Trump’s wall. Numerous studies, including one by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), have indicated that a Trump-style wall would be a boondoggle that is hugely expensive yet ineffective. This is especially true in Texas where the Rio Grande forms the border with Mexico and much of the land on the border is privately owned by ranchers who need access to the river’s water.

Add to that the fact that voters don’t like shutdowns. When Republicans shut down the government over Obamacare in 2013, the party’s approval quickly tanked. In fact, Gallup found that Republican approval sank to its lowest point ever. If Obamacare’s failures had not turned the tables on the Democrats, Republicans would have likely suffered a wipeout in the 2014 midterms. Through it all, Obamacare remained intact.

The 2013 shutdown occurred with a Democrat president in office and the GOP still took the brunt of the blame. There is little question who would be blamed if Republicans, who now control the White House as well as both houses of Congress, shut the government down over the wall.

As a strategy, a government shutdown offers very little for conservatives to like. It would be an unpopular strategy used to enact an unpopular policy, but that isn’t the worst part.

The worst part is that it won’t work. A government shutdown would inevitably lead to yet another embarrassing defeat for the GOP and President Trump. There is simply no way for the party to win without Democrat votes for cloture.

Democrats would use a shutdown to tell the country that President Trump and the Republicans are incapable of governing. It would be difficult to prove them wrong.

Gov. Christie On The Closed Beach

 

Gov. Chris Christie got caught Sunday having a private beach party at a Jersey Shore park that he closed to the public.  The New York Post reports that Christie and company were lounging at Berkeley Township’s Island.  The New York  Beach State Park was among the public facilities Christie shut down because of a budget standoff he is having with state legislators.

During a press conference held later Sunday, Christie denied he got any sun Sunday:

When asked by reporters in Trenton if he got to enjoy the clear summer day, the governor demurred.

“I didn’t,” he said. “I didn’t get any sun today.”

When told about pictures of the beach party Christie’s spokesman claimed the governor’s baseball hat shielded him from any rays:

“He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on,” the spokesman, Brian Murray, told NJ.com.

Christie is worse than Obama who outrageously barricaded open air facilities such as the World War II Memorial and even the Grand Canyon in a childish effort to cause pain on his constituents hoping there would then pressure their representatives to do Obama’s bidding.

But not even Obama had the audacity to shove the closures in the face of citizens by actually visiting any of the closed federal facilities he forced to close while citizens were not permitted to use them.

People certainly don’t appreciate it when so-called leaders attempt to inflict pain on them for a political vendetta such as trying to seal off open air “facilities.” They will like it, and Gov. Christie, even less for using the facility he closed while Cub Scouts and other citizens were forced to leave a state park campsite.

After the bridgegate scandal and Christie’s failed presidential run his support in New Jersey has collapsed and he is now the country’s least popular governor.

Will Democrats Shut Down the Government?

Another year, another looming government shutdown.

This year it is Democrats who are threatening to shut down the government to block funding for President Trump’s border wall. Fresh from their victory in blocking reform of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats say that they will filibuster the annual appropriations bill if it includes money for construction of the wall. The bill must pass before April 28 to avoid a shutdown.

“I thought we were going to get a check from Mexico,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in Politico. He added that the wall will “accomplish nothing. That’s $30 billion that can’t go into cancer research, diabetes research and veterans care.”

In recent memory, it has been Republicans who have threatened to shut the government down. The most recent example in 2013 followed several shutdowns during the Clinton Administration. While Democrats have been guilty of fomenting shutdowns, we must look all the way back to 1990 for the last example of a Democratic Congress shutting down the government under a Republican president.

While government shutdowns are not uncommon, they also are not popular with voters. Virtually every poll that asks about a government shutdown shows the voting public overwhelmingly opposed to and angry at the prospect. While shutdowns can be popular among the partisan base, most voters want the parties to work together for the good of the country.

When the Republicans shut down the government for 16 days in 2013, they not only failed to achieve their goal of defunding Obamacare, they also saw the party’s approval rating fall to a historic low. A year later, Obamacare’s skyrocketing increases in health insurance premiums and chronic problems with registration on exchange websites saved Republicans from an electoral drubbing. They weren’t so lucky in 1996 when Republican-led shutdowns arguably cost Bob Dole the presidency and ushered in a second term for Bill Clinton.

If Democrats haven’t learned from past shutdowns, Republican leaders apparently have. “We’re not going to have a government shutdown,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said on CBS last month. “The president doesn’t want to have a government shutdown.”

Ryan suggested that the battle over appropriations for the wall could be delayed until next year since plans for the wall have not been finalized. “The big chunk of money for the wall, really, is…next fiscal year’s appropriations because they literally can’t start construction even this quickly,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed, saying on Fox News that he was “very confident” that a shutdown could be avoided and argued that the Democrats had the most to lose from a potential shutdown. “I would advise President Trump: ‘Don’t worry about them sticking that label on you. Congress owns the government shutdown brand,’” McConnell said. “There’s no incentive, frankly, for either side to go to the brink.”

Republicans say they intend to keep controversial items out of the appropriations bill. Funding for the wall will be delayed and a measure defunding Planned Parenthood is likely to be inserted into the budget reconciliation, which cannot be filibustered. This may mean that Democrats are left with no hot button issues to demonize in the appropriations bill.

Nevertheless, Democrats in the past have shown a propensity for overreach. Overconfidence after the health care battle and an irrational emotional response to the mere existence of the Trump Administration could lead Democrats into a shutdown battle over nothing.

With President Trump’s approval rating at 35 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll, Democrats would run the risk of blowback from a shutdown. The strategy might make the president more popular at their own expense. A maxim attributed to Napoleon is, “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.” Democrats would be smart to follow the French emperor’s advice.

Republicans Should Consider a Government Shutdown

It seems quite clear that the Obama Administration is going to ram through a bunch of major regulations prior to Trump taking office. Incoming administrations are limited in what they can do to reverse those regulations and Obama has 158 major regulations pending, with 88 at the final rule stage. The EPA is already rushing through regulations before Trump gets on the scene.

Once the rules are enacted, the only major recourse would be the Congressional Review Act (“CRA”). It allows an expedited process to reverse regulations through resolutions of disapproval and those resolutions cannot be filibustered under existing Senate rules.

The House of Representatives has passed a bill targeting new Obama regulations.

The bill would amend the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress to overturn many rules all at once by way of a resolution.

But this new legislation would be subject to a veto by President Obama and the Republicans will not have the votes to override that veto.

Until Obama’s last minute regulations are repealed (if at all) through the Congressional Review Act, businesses in the country would see crippling costs as they rush to implement Obama’s regulatory state to avoid paying fines and suffering penalties. And you would be foolish to have faith in the GOP to actually repeal all the regulations.

During a government shutdown, the Federal Register can only publish regulations that “are necessary to protect human life and safety or protect property.” Likewise, because the regulatory function of agencies like the EPA are not paid for by sources not subject to a lapse in appropriations, they would have to shut down their regulatory making processes.

If Congress cannot get the regulatory agencies to stop moving forward with the destructive and costly regulations rushing through Obama’s leftwing agenda at the end of his term, Republicans should shut down the government, which is only funded for another week or so.

You Need To Read This

This is Congressman Mick Mulvaney from South Carolina:

“In the House—I can only speak for the House—the amount of control we have is the power of the purse. If we’re not willing to talk about a lapse in appropriations over selling dead baby parts I doubt seriously we’ll have a discussion about a lapse in appropriations over a nuclear-powered Iran. We’re afraid to shut the government down. We gave up the power of the purse about four and a half years ago. If you’re not willing to go to the mat on defunding anything, then you are not willing to enforce the power of the purse.”

Precisely. Everything else is just theater.