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, January 25th, 2019

Trump caves to Democrats, says he’ll sign bill to temporarily reopen the federal government

For weeks, he vowed that he wasn’t going to cave.

But with the costs of the partial federal government shutdown that he manufactured mounting, and with Democrats holding firm, Donald Trump today capitulated, agreeing to temporarily reopen the federal government without an authorization from Congress to spend $5.7 billion constructing a wall on the border with Mexico. Trump announced his capitulation in a speech in the Rose Garden.

The agreement “reopens the government without any preconditions and gives Democrats and Republicans an opportunity to discuss border security without holding hundreds of thousands of American workers hostage,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate Democratic leader, said.

However, the federal government would only be reopened on a short term basis, with another partial shutdown possible in just twenty-one days. The current shutdown, the longest on record, has gone on for longer than three weeks.

“This reckless shutdown should have never happened,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “It was irresponsible, damaging to our economy and needlessly harmful to working families in every corner of our country.”

“We all know the shutdown was never about border security.”

“There is simply no excuse for shutting down the government, inflicting pain on 800,000 public servants and threatening basic services for millions of Americans to fulfill a broken campaign promise. Reopening the government temporarily is an important first step, but we cannot allow this to happen again in three weeks. Coast Guard personnel, TSA agents, food inspectors, air traffic controllers and other federal workers need long-term security to do their jobs and keep the public safe.”

“Shutdowns are not a negotiating tactic — period. Federal workers and their families should never be held hostage to the president’s whims.”

“I am so glad that President Trump and Senate Republicans finally listened to workers and people across the country and agreed to reopen the government and end this absolutely unnecessary shutdown,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray.

“I want to thank the workers, Coast Guard service members, and their families in Washington state and across the country for their service and sacrifices over this hard month. We can breathe a sigh of relief today, and then we need to get to work to clean up the mess that President Trump created for absolutely no reason and do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again in a few short weeks.”

“This thirty-five day shutdown has caused tremendous damage in Washington state and across the country — uncertainty for workers and families, unpaid bills, economic toll on communities, services jeopardized or put on hold, backlogs and delays at airports and critical federal agencies, trash piling up at our national parks, and so much more,” Senator Murray added.

“The level of chaos and dysfunction the American people were forced to deal with over the past month was truly appalling and has absolutely no place in the United States of America. I am hoping that President Trump and his Republican allies have learned a lesson from this and will choose to work with Democrats in good faith instead of playing more political games or trying to govern by tantrum.”

“Democrats have made it clear that we don’t support using American taxpayer dollars to pay for the wasteful wall that President Trump promised Mexico would pay for, but we’ve also made it clear that we are of course willing to continue working with Republicans on responsible border security once the shutdown ends.”

“I encourage anyone who was hurt and frustrated by this shutdown to keep the pressure on Trump and his Republican allies to not go down this path again. And I strongly urge President Trump to work with us on actual solutions and to set aside his threats to abuse his power and circumvent Congress if he doesn’t get his way.”

“Finally, after thirty-five days, the President has agreed to do what he should have done in the first place: open the government,” said U.S. Representative Adam Smith, the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

“The impacts of the government shutdown on federal workers and communities across the country have been immense.”

“This is a manufactured crisis, engineered by President Trump, that has harmed hundreds of thousands of Americans. While not surprising, the tone-deaf remarks recently uttered by this President and senior members of his Administration, particularly Secretary Ross, show just how out of touch with reality they are about the difficult and dangerous position which the shutdown has put families.”

“We know the President manufactured this crisis because in his Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, submitted last February, Trump requested only $ 1.6 billion dollars for a border wall. In fact, the House and Senate gave the President the amount that he requested. However, that all changed when Democrats won the House in November. Now the President is arbitrarily demanding billions of dollars more for his wall and has been holding federal workers hostage over it.

“If the President believes there has been a change in our border security needs that warrants a wall, then he should articulate those reasons to Congress based on facts. Time and again, President Trump has lied and mischaracterized the actual situation to the American people, claiming a ‘crisis’ at the border and that the ‘worst of the worst’ are pouring into the United States.”

“These claims are demonstrably false and made only to justify harmful policies meant to appease his base. If additional border security is so desperately needed, as Trump claims, then why is he proposing a border wall that experts, including Customs and Border Patrol officials, have determined is not an effective border security strategy?”

“Even though President Trump has more recently demanded $5.7 billion dollars to fund 235 miles of border wall, it continues to be clear that he doesn’t actually have a solid plan for where it would be built. The Administration has provided no justification for why the arbitrary $5.7 billion is the amount needed now.”

“Furthermore, and more fundamental to the problem, is that no substantial case has been made for why a wall is needed.”

“From the beginning, President Trump’s justification for a border wall was not rooted in a need for border security, but in the misguided notion that immigrants are somehow inherent threats to American society.

“This racist and xenophobic view has been the basis for Trump’s entire immigration agenda and could not be further from the truth. Our policy and legislative process does not work by holding the government hostage, and I hope the President has learned that doing so is unproductive and harmful.”

“I continue to believe that spending billions on a border wall with no justification, especially in the wake of the Republican tax giveaway to the wealthy, is deeply irresponsible, especially as we have so many other worthy national priorities, including providing health care, improving education, and fixing crumbling infrastructure.”

“I applaud the non-profit organizations, businesses, and community members who have stepped up to help alleviate the pains of the shutdown. My office and I will continue to do whatever we can to ensure workers are given the pay and benefits to which they are entitled and prevent unnecessary future shutdowns.”

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