Trump’s End to the Federal Government Shutdown: Concession or Win?

Was Donald Trump’s temporary “deal” to end the federal government shutdown a concession to Democrats, or was it a win for the GOP? That depends on how it’s spun. On Friday evening, January 25, Trump signed a bill to end the five-week government shutdown, and Trump himself appears to claim this action as a win, not a concession.

“This was in no way a concession,” Trump tweeted. “It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”

Trump not only denies that he has made a concession, he appears to take on a position of concern about the well-being of the 800,000 federal workers who were impacted, implying that if not for the Democrats, the longest government shutdown in history would not have occurred, and federal workers would not have been furloughed or required to work without being paid.

Many Americans remember, however, that it was Trump who, on national television, proclaimed that he would “own a shutdown” if it occurred. When Trump and Democrats reached an impasse on funding for a wall on the U.S. – Mexico border, the shutdown went into effect the next day. It occurred because Trump had asked for $5.7 billion to be added to new legislation for federal spending, which would need to be passed before the previous spending legislation expired on December 21.

At the urging of Democrats, and after at least two paychecks were missed by the federal employees affected by the shutdown, Trump agreed to sign a bill to re-open the federal government for three weeks while House Democrats and Republicans attempt to work out a deal regarding U.S. border security.

As Shaun Hannity sees it, Trump “right now holds all the cards…He will secure the border one way or another.”

The spin continues, as Trump slithers around just what “border wall” means to him. The government was shut down as a result of Trump’s unyielding insistence on funding for the physical border wall he campaigned on, and Democrats’ refusal to support it. Now, however, Trump says this:

“We do not need 2000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea. We never did. We never proposed that. We never wanted that, because we have barriers at the border where natural structures are as good as anything that we can build.”

Perhaps Trump thinks his by now well-known tactic of “I never said that, and if I did say that, it’s not what I meant” demonstrates that he is the only rational party in the wall discussion. Perhaps he’s hoping that as he ends the government shutdown, Americans will somehow have forgotten the definition of “win.”

Anderson Cooper: Trump tries to redefine victory to avoid losing | CNN

Graham reacts to Trump’s announcement of deal to end shutdown |
Fox News [2019-01-25]

The Safety Impact of the Partial Government Shutdown

The safety impact of the partial government shutdown, which began on December 22, 2018, continues to grow. Even though the shutdown only affects 25 percent of government functions and services, few Americans will be spared at least some of its ramifications. One of the (many) widespread ripples of the partial government shutdown is its safety impact.

For Americans not among the 800,000 federal employees who are either furloughed or who continue to work without being paid, life may go on as usual – for now. But among those who are not currently collecting a paycheck for their federal jobs are those who do the work of keeping us safe.

Thousands of Secret Service agents are required to continue working without pay. Among their responsibilities are protecting the president and vice president and their families, as well as protecting former U.S. presidents. Visiting foreign heads of state also require the protection of U.S. Secret Service agents.

According to many in the Secret Service, agents are angry and full of anxiety about the shutdown.

“They are asking you to put your life on the line and not paying you — it’s ridiculous. Morale is a serious issue,” said 20-year Secret Service agent Donald Mihalek, who has served during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. “This is an incredibly stressful job that requires your full attention, and if you are standing there thinking about your mortgage, or your credit card bills, or the fact that you are burning through your savings, you are distracted, you’re not able to give 100 percent.”

The Secret Service protects 42 people in the Trump administration alone. According to The New York Times, Randolph Alles, the current director of the U.S. Secret Service agency, said in 2017 that “the sprawling Trump entourage was putting unprecedented strains on his agents, in terms of staffing and budgeting.” The shutdown only adds strain to an already over-burdened agency.

Though protection by the U.S. Secret Service may not directly impact most Americans, the safety impact of the partial government shutdown is evident in other ways. Corrections officers at federal prisons are also currently working without a paycheck, as are many agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and many members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

At U.S. airports, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers are also required to come to work, though they’re not getting paid. Many have called in sick, and/or are looking for other work. The resulting understaffing, as well as lowered morale, is causing delay at major airports, as well as posing clear national security risks.

As of January 15, the partial government shutdown – now the longest in U.S. history – will be at day 25. While federal law enforcement and safety employees do their best to either continue working without compensation or navigate a furlough, bank accounts are draining, morale is plummeting, federal employees’ families are paying the price, and – what impacts us all – the safety impact of the partial government shutdown continues to become more of a threat.

Flight attendants say government shutdown threatening airline safety |
Global News [2019-01-10]

Federal workers’ paychecks on hold as partial government shutdown looms | Fox News [2019-01-10]