As Americans awoke this Saturday morning to the first government shutdown in nearly five years, the blame game had already begun. When I was a child, my parents taught me that “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” It seems that the Washington version of those words of wisdom is “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you place the blame.” Clearly, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wanted this government shutdown as a way to create some electoral momentum at the outset of 2018. As the Wall Street Journal words it so well “The Democrats Won’t Take ‘Yes’ for an Answer” with regard to a deal to avoid a shutdown.
As this midterm election year opens, Democrats have less to run on than they anticipated. The tax reform bill they denounced as “Armageddon” has already led to real pay increases for American families, jobs being created, and companies expanding their American operations. These tangible economic benefits of the tax act are going to bolster GOP prospects this fall, as not a single Democrat voted for the law in December. DACA policy seemed like a place where Democrats could corner Republicans, and set-up a fight over the future of Dreamers. Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans, however, signaled a willingness to work on a legislative form of DACA, so long as it was coupled with border security measures to avert further illegal immigration.
After Republicans agreed to address DACA legislatively, Democrats grew even more desperate for a wedge issue for 2018. Thus, the demands began with Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California calling for a “clean” DACA bill. Clean is code for do it the way Democrats demand: legislation to enshrine DACA with zero additional border security measures. Enacting DACA without border security measures will lead to a repeat of what we witnessed when President Obama illegally enacted DACA by executive order in the first place. We will see tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing our borders in hopes of being granted amnesty. This will lead to a true humanitarian crisis, as desperate parents in impoverished countries put their children onto trains, into trucks, and on foot to try and obtain entry into the United States. We cannot repeat this mistake again.
Make no mistake, this government shutdown is on the shoulders of Democrats. They want this shutdown to try and frame Republicans as opposed to Dreamers (which isn’t the case as long as there’s border security included), and as responsible for a government shutdown while there’s total Republican control in the capital. This entire fiasco is designed to help Democrats raise money and win elections this fall. It’s unfortunate that Democrats don’t care about our military men and women, who will be forced to serve without pay if this issue is unresolved, and the millions of people who will, in some form, feel the effect of their electoral gimmicks.
Republicans should not back-down, but make the Democrats own this obstructionism until they act like adults and run the country responsibly. I agree with White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, this is the Schumer Shutdown.