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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