NATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS ALLIANCE BLAMES GOP
The federal government shut down Friday midnight, stopping all except the most essential services and rankles the
one-year anniversary celebration of President Donald Trump as a bitter partisan divide is in full display in Washington, D.C.
Negotiations fell apart as Senate Democrats halted a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter century. But Republican and Democrat leaders had started to draw up an accord to avert a lengthy shutdown.
The shutdown, however, will not be felt as federal workers are home for the weekend. Its effect will be felt if the closure is prolonged. It will be a blow to the ego of the President but a political risk for either party, hoping that voters will punish the other during the mid-term elections in November.
Ai-jen Poo, co-founder of We Belong Together and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, however, put the stalemate squarely on the laps of the Republicans, saying, “Let’s be clear that this shutdown was caused by an administration and Republican majority in Congress that either cannot or refuses to govern, even when our children and youth are at stake. They chose to shutdown the government and hurt thousands of public employees and their families, just to avoid passing the Dream Act - a measure supported by 86% of Americans - as part of the spending bill. These are the same people who blatantly ignored the will of the American public by passing a harmful tax bill that the majority of us opposed.”
SS, OTHER SAFETY NET PROGRAMS UNAFFECTED
Social Security and most other safety net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is brokered before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.
After hours of closed-door meetings and phone calls, the Senate scheduled its late-night vote on a House-passed plan. It gained 50 votes to proceed to 49 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster. A handful of red-state Democrats crossed the aisle to support the measure, rather than take a politically risky vote. Four Republicans voted in opposition.
In an unusual move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed the roll call to exceed 90 minutes — instead of the usual 20 or so — and run past midnight, seemingly accommodating the numerous discussions among leaders and other lawmakers. Still as midnight passed and the calendar turned, there was no obvious off-ramp to the political stalemate.
TRUMP PESSIMISTIC BEFORE THE VOTE
Even before the vote, Trump was pessimistic, tweeting that Democrats actually wanted the shutdown "to help diminish the success" of the tax bill he and fellow Republicans pushed through last month. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later termed the Democrats "obstructionist losers."
Democrats balked on the measure in an effort to pressure on the White House to cut a deal to protect "dreamer" immigrants — who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally — before their legal protection runs out in March.
The president watched the results from the White House residence, dialing up allies and affirming his belief that Democrats would take the blame for the shutdown, said a person familiar with his conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly.
Predictably, both parties moved swiftly to blame one another. Democrats laid fault with Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House and have struggled with building internal consensus. Republicans declared Democrats responsible, after they declined to provide the votes needed to overcome a filibuster over their desire to force the passage of legislation to protect some 700,000 younger immigrants from deportation.
Ms. Poo said, This is the 3rd attempt by Congress to postpone a decision on whether or not to approve a final spending bill for 2018 that includes protections for 800,000 young immigrants previously covered by the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program, also known as DACA, terminated in September by the Trump administration.
“Whether we count on a federal paycheck, use CHIP funding to keep our children healthy or live in limbo as the deadline on our DACA approaches — each and every one of us deserves a functioning government, not one bogged down by racism and toxic partisanship. It’s time for Congress to pass a clean Dream Act, fund CHIP, and get our government running again. As we join marches with millions of women and men around the country this weekend, our unity and power behind these demands will only continue to grow.”
We Belong Together is a campaign led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance to mobilize women in support of immigration policies that keep families together and empower women. To learn more about the campaign, visit http://www.webelongtogether.org. (PM)