Trent Lott on government shutdown: "It's all bulls**t"

There’s a name that is a blast from the past. Now a lobbyist, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott isn’t really pleased with politicians running the show in Washington D.C. these days. He slams President Trump, Mitch McConnell and the Democrat leadership for the government shutdown. He gave an interview about it just before President Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office this week.


“It’s all bullshit,” Lott told Mississippi Today on Tuesday. “We need security. We need to control the border, but now it’s about symbolism. Democrats are not one dollar for a wall. (Republicans say) ‘We’re being invaded, we’ve got to have the wall.’”

“It’s as bad as I’ve ever seen it.”

Lott thinks a compromise on DACA would be something Republicans could offer during negotiations with the open borders crowd on the left. Mostly it sounds like Lott just wants them all to sit down and work it out, calling on some show of leadership.

Lott said Republicans should offer Democrats a deal to reform DACA, an Obama-era program that the Trump administration has tried to kill. The program allows immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country. Meanwhile, Trump said Democrats should negotiate with the White House on a smaller price tag for border security.

“When you’re one of 100 (senators) you don’t get 100 percent of what you want,” Lott said. “You have to know people. You have to test people. You have to see how much you can get. Reagan even said give me 60 percent of anything, I’ll take it and I’ll come back and try to get more later. So you have to be strong, you have to show courage, you have to lead.”

Lott ends by calling for less bitter partisanship and more thought to the future. He said it’s the time for immigration reform. I agree with him on that. Maybe with Trump, a man who prides himself on being a disrupter, some real work on reform can be made. Both parties have used the issue of immigration as a wedge issue to stir up voters. The problem is that neither side has shown any inclination to muster up the courage to actually do the work. As far as DACA goes, I am willing to accept legal residence for those who qualify under the program but I’m not in favor of citizenship. Punishing the innocents involved in the illegal act of entering our country because they were under the care of their parents doesn’t seem fair. Amnesty and full citizenship seem too lenient, though. The compromise would be a permanent legal residence.


Meanwhile, we have now approached the point of breaking the record for the longest government shutdown. The record was 21 days during the Clinton administration. Lott was a player in that drama, as a U.S. Senator, I might add. Members in both the House and the Senate have introduced bills to stop their paychecks as long as federal employees are not being paid. In the House, Rep. John R. Curtis (R-UT) introduced a bill on January 3, 2019. Others have signed on.

In the Senate, Freshman Seantor Mike Braun (R-IN) and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin introduced a bi-partisan bill to prevent members of Congress from being paid during government shutdowns.

Both the House and the Senate have passed bills to reimburse the federal employees furloughed and missing paychecks during the shutdown. Frankly, it makes more sense to me that the elected officials miss a check instead of the federal employees feeling the pinch. It’s the responsibility of the elected officials to protect the country and keep the wheels of government turning. The employees are caught in the crossfire. While the employees are at the mercy of our government overlords by being government employees and should plan accordingly, we all know that is easier said than done. In some states, those going without a paycheck may be able to draw unemployment benefits. You probably won’t be surprised that California jumped out in front on that. It sounds as though it is to tide federal employees over until they are paid. If they are paid (and we know they will be since the bills have passed in Congress and Trump says he’ll sign the final product) the Californians will have to repay the state. What could go wrong?


Federal workers in California who are furloughed or working without pay because of the partial U.S. government shutdown can apply for state unemployment benefits, although they will have to repay the benefits if they recover their lost wages.

Normally, people who are working without pay but with the promise of pay are not eligible for state unemployment benefits. But “because of this particular scenario” the governor’s office “allowed us to be more flexible,” said Loree Levy, a spokeswoman for the California Employment

Meanwhile, the shutdown continues with no end in sight in the immediate future.

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John Sexton 8:40 PM on September 21, 2023