The U.S. slides into Christmas with a partial government shutdown, which began at just after midnight on Saturday morning, December 22, and may continue into the New Year. The partial shutdown is a result of the inability of representatives in Congress to reach an agreement with each other and with Donald Trump regarding his demands to fund a border wall. By Saturday, many House and Senate lawmakers had left town for the holidays, so a new vote is not likely in the near future. Fingers are pointing on both sides as to who is to blame for the partial shutdown.
Trump had said the previous week, on December 11, when a shutdown seemed a little less likely, that he would “own” a shutdown if it occurred. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck (speaking to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer). … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
On December 19, the Senate passed a bill that seemed amenable to Trump and that looked as if it would prevent a shutdown, at least through February. In an apparent reversal on December 20, however, Trump said he wouldn’t sign the bill, after all, and that he won’t sign any bill that doesn’t include his required $5 billion to fund his border wall.
The House was then set to pass a spending deal with Trump’s required $5 billion for the border wall, but without Senate Democrats’ votes, the bill won’t pass in the Senate. On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate would not take more votes until all sides could agree on a deal.
“When those negotiations produce a solution that is acceptable to all of those parties,” said McConnell, “It will receive a vote here on the Senate floor.”
On Friday, December 21, after previously declaring that he would “own” a shutdown, Trump did a turnaround tweet: “The Democrats now own the shutdown!”
In a video posted to Twitter, Trump said, “We’re going to have a shutdown. There’s nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes. Call it a Democrat shutdown, call it whatever you want, but we need their help to get this approved.”
Though Trump blames the current partial shutdown on the Democrats, Senate Democrats did support the bill that passed on December 19, and that appeared to have Trump’s support, until he flip-flopped.
As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi points out, “Democrats are for real border security solutions. Not for wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on an immoral, ineffective & expensive wall.”
Though government shutdowns have happened under other administrations, they are not common, especially under an administration in which one party controls all three branches. This, however, is the third shutdown in less than a year.
Partial government shutdown to continue through Christmas | Fox News [2018-12-24]
Day one of partial federal shutdown: Things go ‘from bad to worse’ |
PBS News Hour [2018-12-22]