The needless shutdown

December 26, 2018

Husbands and wives may have disagreed over how much to spend on presents, but they’ll figure out how to pay for them when the credit card bills come due and head off to work to make it happen.

Is it too much to expect the leaders they elect to likewise act responsibly?

When it comes to the president and Congress we are not talking gifts (though certainly billions of dollars of those are always mixed into massive federal budgets) but keeping government operating.

About one-quarter of the government has been shut down, affecting about 800,000 employees. Some face unpaid furloughs, others will keep working on the promise of payment when Congress gets around to passing a spending bill.

It is all an unnecessary result of political theater.

President Trump wants Congress to provide funding for his fantastical 2,000-mile southern border wall, the one he said Mexico would fund. Trump had a deal to save face. Enough Democrats would get on board in the Senate to pass a spending bill with 5.7 billion.

Not wanting to be left out of this theater of the absurd, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested that with the compromise off his caucus is back to 2.5 billion, investing in physical border security where it makes sense. As part of a compromise, provide legal status to the 750,000 or so Dreamers, those undocumented adults brought to the U.S. as children.

Again, is this too much to ask? Apparently.


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