Behold, the place where Government will die at midnight (apparently).
It’s Friday, January 19th. As of midnight tonight, the government is set to shut down if there is no continuing resolution passed to fund the government.
At issue is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which the Democrats are using as the reasoning for blocking the House’s CR – a block that will lead to the supposedly apocalyptic government shutdown.
God forbid a government as dysfunctional as ours has proven to be over the last several years doesn’t do anything for a while.
This whole shutdown fight irritates me, though, because it is a symptom of a larger issue our government has been allowing to slide by for a while now: Why the hell do we have to keep having these all-or-nothing fights?
Should DACA in any way be a part of the discussion when talking about funding the government? Of course not. That is ridiculous. DACA is, at best, tangentially related to the issue of what government money is spent on. But, it is a centerpiece of this spending fight. Why? Because the Republicans and the Democrats have for years now allowed multiple, unrelated issues to slip into bills to help them score political points.
This is not really a fight we should be having right now, and it’s foolish that we are forced to endure this fight. There should at no point be a major comprehensive bill offering funding AND whatever political pet projects just happen to be out there. Ideally, seeing as the House’s responsibility is to the purse strings of the government’s wallet, there should be a series of bills, carefully weighed and analyzed for what is necessary and proper spending, and then debated and negotiated. Then, it would move over to the Senate, where the same thing happens there.
Then, to the President’s office. One department’s funding looks good, so it’s signed. Another looks questionable, so let’s reject that and work on it again. So on, and so forth.
Instead, we have this comprehensive piece of legislation, which is just a continuing resolution, that, according to Democrats, must include continuing DACA, apparently. Take Senator Tim Kaine’s statement: “Congress should remain in session with no recess until we work out a long-term bipartisan budget deal that addresses all issues.” Issues which, apparently include DACA. Why? Because they say it does for some reason.
The issue of CHIP funding has been resolved. The funding of government is ready to go. But, Democrats still won’t vote for the bill because there is nothing about DACA in it. It’s the only issue left.
Call me idealistic, naive, or whatever else you may want to if you disagree, but this whole “We must get everything funded and include unrelated issues or else the government shuts down!” fight is insanely stupid. At no point when discussing the basic role of what would become Congress did the Founders seem to think “And if Congress can’t agree on one little policy, the entire government should shut down.” The entire system was structured so that debate and order could be maintained while the government functioned as it should. Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, you know… operate within parameters.
And, sure, part of the reason this is such an issue is because Trump can’t control his thoughts and words. If negotiations had gone better, if Trump hadn’t said shithole, if Durbin hadn’t gone against his own interests and leaked that Trump said shithole, if Kelly’s voice were louder and Trump’s softer, if the immigration wing of the party weren’t insane about DACA which otherwise enjoys immense popularity in the country, then we wouldn’t even be here.
But, here we are. Those things did happen. They became part of the discussion. And because that happened, because politicians are too busy thinking of what points they can score over what would actually be best for the country, we are stuck in a position where we have to deal with this. It’s been a long time coming, and ever since we allowed a 2000+ page health care reform package passed without a single Republican vote, we have been slowly but surely making the every fight about as many issues at once as possible.
It’s like we have some sort of weird legislative ADD, and we have to address every shiny object we can see.
Comprehensivism should die. We should be better than this. But, we’re not. The fabulism of politics is more important than political policy in today’s world, and that should sicken a lot more people than it seems to.