NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Federal agencies in limbo thanks to the intransigence of Individual Number One

“You know what I’ll say: Yes, if we don’t get what we want, one way or the oth­er — whether it’s through you, through a mil­i­tary, through any­thing you want to call — I will shut down the gov­ern­ment. Absolute­ly… I will take the man­tle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

Don­ald Trump, Decem­ber 11th, 2018

The #Trump­Shut­down is here.

The Nar­cis­sist-in-Chief — egged on by his rabid base and his nev­er hap­py legion of right wing media com­men­ta­tors — has made good on his threat to shut down the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment (at least the part of it that can be closed for busi­ness), though he’s not accept­ing the blame like he promised he would only a few days ago.

It’s the third time dur­ing the last two years that Repub­li­cans have failed to keep the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment open despite con­trol­ling both hous­es of Con­gress and the pres­i­den­cy. They have the pow­er, but they sure don’t seem to want the respon­si­bil­i­ty that goes with it. Paul Ryan, in par­tic­u­lar, seems resigned and indif­fer­ent, with his major­i­ty gone and his speak­er­ship about to end.

Like the House Hostage-Tak­ing Cau­cus did five years ago, Trump is try­ing to use Amer­i­ca’s pub­lic agen­cies as hostages to coerce Democ­rats into vot­ing against their val­ues. This time, though, the objec­tive is fund­ing for the stu­pid wall that Trump and his min­ions want to build on the bor­der with Mex­i­co.

“[Indi­vid­ual Num­ber One] has dou­bled down on a tem­per tantrum of epic pro­por­tions,” said Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

“The lev­el of dis­rup­tion and destruc­tion he has wrought with his fix­a­tion on build­ing a use­less wall is stag­ger­ing. He has divid­ed fam­i­lies and trau­ma­tized chil­dren, sowed xeno­pho­bia and divi­sion through­out the nation, and for the third time this year will force a shut­down of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment that will have real con­se­quences for mil­lions of fam­i­lies this hol­i­day sea­son.”

“Because of Don­ald Trump, hun­dreds of thou­sands of fed­er­al employ­ees will be fur­loughed or forced to work with­out pay over the hol­i­days.

“For­tu­nate­ly, in Wash­ing­ton State, we will be able to min­i­mize impacts to state pro­grams and ser­vices in the short-term”

“But our state should not be left respon­si­ble for con­tin­u­ing impor­tant ser­vices that are a fed­er­al respon­si­bil­i­ty — includ­ing pro­grams such as food inspec­tion, sex­u­al assault and domes­tic vio­lence pre­ven­tion, crime vic­tim sup­port, and basic food assis­tance for women, infants and chil­dren across Wash­ing­ton.”

“This is not about bor­der secu­ri­ty. This is about a man who puts the opin­ions of a few ultra-far-right cable news com­men­ta­tors above the good of the nation he was elect­ed to serve. Don­ald Trump may not have to deal with the con­se­quences of his capri­cious and self­ish gov­ern­ment shut­down, but we the peo­ple do.”

“I’m proud that we live in a state where Ore­go­ni­ans have stood up for their val­ues and sent a clear mes­sage that ours is a wel­com­ing and inclu­sive state, a place where all Ore­go­ni­ans have access to qual­i­ty, afford­able health­care, and where envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment work hand-in-hand,” said Ore­gon Gov­er­nor Kate Brown. “As we enter the hol­i­day sea­son, I call on our incom­ing con­gres­sion­al lead­ers to look ahead and coun­ter­bal­ance the polit­i­cal games from the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion that have dom­i­nat­ed 2018.”

“Ore­gon is focused on con­tin­u­ing to deliv­er essen­tial ser­vices to our fam­i­lies, and is eval­u­at­ing resources that could be used if nec­es­sary. Ten­ta­tive­ly, the state cal­cu­lates that if the shut­down lasts two to three weeks, the cash flow impacts on the state can be man­aged. In the mean­time, the Depart­ment of Admin­is­tra­tive Ser­vices will con­tin­ue to work with state agen­cies to iden­ti­fy addi­tion­al gaps and devel­op con­tin­gency plans for a longer gap in fund­ing.”

“This shut­down is tru­ly absurd, and would not have hap­pened if [Don­ald] Trump had sim­ply ignored the eleventh hour taunts of a hand­ful of con­ser­v­a­tives and instead moved for­ward with the Sen­ate’s bipar­ti­san bill,” lament­ed Wash­ing­ton’s senior Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray in a state­ment.

“On behalf of fam­i­lies in Wash­ing­ton state and across the coun­try who are now left won­der­ing when they’ll get their next pay­check or when their gov­ern­ment will be ful­ly func­tion­ing, I’m urg­ing Repub­li­cans to work with us to do the right thing and re-open the gov­ern­ment as quick­ly as pos­si­ble.”

“Ear­li­er this week, Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats in Con­gress were ready to pass leg­is­la­tion that would keep the gov­ern­ment open,” not­ed U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene. “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, [Don­ald] Trump – in an effort to appease hard­line con­ser­v­a­tives and Fox – chose to sab­o­tage this deal and demand $5 bil­lion to fund a waste­ful bor­der wall that won’t make us any safer. House Repub­li­cans have now embraced Pres­i­dent Trump’s desire to shut down the gov­ern­ment.”

“The shut­down will result in rough­ly 800,000 fed­er­al employ­ees being fur­loughed or work­ing with­out pay, just in time for the hol­i­days.”

“They include for­est ser­vice fire­fight­ers, Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion agents, and TSA employ­ees. New home and small busi­ness loans will stop, many nation­al parks will close, and the IRS won’t be able to issue tax refunds. Our farm­ers will also take a hit as Farm Ser­vice coun­ty offices will close and much-need­ed aid from the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture will cease.”

The appro­pri­ate course of action now is for con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans to join Democ­rats in pass­ing a bill to reopen the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, sans fund­ing for a wall, and force Trump to veto it. Then Con­gress should over­ride the veto.

It’s high time our orig­i­nal branch of gov­ern­ment reassert­ed itself and act­ed in the best inter­ests of our coun­try, since our exec­u­tive branch has been hijacked by a failed busi­ness­man who is more inter­est­ed in enrich­ing him­self than gov­ern­ing.

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