Prospects for another government shutdown seemed to grow over the weekend, with Donald Trump beginning another push to blame a shutdown on Democrats and Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the committee negotiating a government funding bill, saying that “the talks are stalled right now.” Friday is the deadline to avert another shutdown, which would leave 800,000 federal workers without paychecks again, and “I’m not confident we’re going to get there,” Shelby said Sunday. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, sounded a similar note Sunday, saying that he “absolutely cannot” guarantee the government will stay open.
It’s hard to be confident of anything when you’re dealing with Trump, who tweeted Sunday that “It was a very bad week for the Democrats, with the GREAT economic numbers, The Virginia disaster and the State of the Union address. Now, with the terrible offers being made by them to the Border Committee, I actually believe they want a Shutdown. They want a new subject!” Strategy points to him for not volunteering to take the credit for a shutdown as he did last time around, but it wouldn’t be any less his fault for holding much of the government hostage to funding for an unnecessary, expensive border wall.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has expressed openness to up to $2 billion in border wall/fence funding, but Trump has so far been dead set on demanding $5.7 billion. And Republicans are howling at a Democratic call to limit the number of detention beds available to ICE, an effort to “force the Trump administration to prioritize arresting and deporting serious criminals, not law-abiding immigrants,” a House Democratic aide told CNN. Republicans, of course, are responding to the call to prioritize serious criminals over law-abiding immigrants by insisting it will put dangerous criminals on the streets, because they hate immigrants and reality that much.
Tick tock—another shutdown would be disastrous for the nation, and Republicans and their dear leader don’t seem to care.