When you find a government shutdown under your Christmas tree

Welcome to your Christmas (partial) government shutdown. One of the great things about having Fridays off is that I don’t have to spend the evening perched over my laptop, watching this game of Government Donkey Kong play out on the cable news networks. Particularly this close to Christmas, it’s all simply too depressing. (I did make the mistake of watching “I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown” last night. Big mistake.)

But like it or not, the Senate, the House, and the White House failed to come to an agreement on even a six-week continuing resolution to keep the government running. When the Senate failed to pass the House bill which would have included border wall funding, the curtain came down late last night. (NY Post)

The federal government partially shut down at midnight on Friday, hours after Congress failed to pass a spending bill that included $5 billion in funds for a wall on the southern border. As several federal agencies ceased operations, President Trump on Friday night continued to push for a wall on the border — and blamed Democrats for the standstill.

“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,” Trump said in a video that he posted on Twitter.

“Call it a Democrat shutdown; call it whatever you want. But we need their help to get this approved.”

The House will be back in session this afternoon (at least the members who didn’t skip town will, anyway) to see if they can’t cobble something else together that both Chuck Schumer and Donald Trump can agree on. For the moment, there’s not much else to do beyond playing the traditional blame game.

If you follow politics at all, you doubtless already know all the details of the mud-fight over the $5B for border wall construction. (Oh, sorry… I think we’re saying “barrier” now. My bad.) With that in mind, I won’t bore you with the details yet again. But who is going to “own” the third shutdown of the year?

Normally we’d have the two sides pointing fingers at each other, and there’s plenty of that going on this morning. From the GOP side, it’s easy enough to say that the House had already passed a continuing resolution that the President would sign and all the Democrats had to do was agree to it. The fact that they were requesting $5B for the border wall shouldn’t have been an issue when you consider the fact that not too long ago Democrats voted for better border fencing. Also, mull over the vast sums of money we spend on far more nonsensical things. (We spent $43M on a gas station in Afghanistan this year.) And for either party to pretend they are suddenly budget hawks again is just insulting. After years of bitching about the Democrats’ spendthrift ways, the GOP came in and accelerated the rise of the debt.

From the Democrats’ side, Chuck Schumer had already said that there aren’t sixty votes for the border wall funding, so it was silly to pass the CR in the first place since it was doomed to fail. It’s not as if we couldn’t have had the fight over that $5B again in Februrary and all of the government employees could have been paid over the holiday break. (This is the Democrats’ argument, so we need to say “holiday.”)

But what about the President? All of these arguments likely fall on deaf ears since he very recently sat down in front of the cameras with Schumer and said he would “proudly” own the shutdown if he didn’t get the border wall funding.

Yes, he tried to backtrack on that last night, but even a goldfish has enough of a memory to keep that golden video clip in mind.

Here’s a thought. Maybe we should skip the blame game, have everyone in Congress go home, let Trump head off to Mar-a-Lago, and just leave those portions of the government closed until the new congressional class is seated. Then we can find out how many people really care about it, how many would rather have the border wall than keep the national parks open, and how many are just getting on with their lives while these peacocks fight it out with each other in Washington.

Rember kids… a closed government makes no progress. But it also makes no mistakes, doesn’t spend any money and doesn’t pass any tax hikes or new regulations.