Once again, a government shutdown is looming. The GOP is hoping to pass another continuing resolution on the budget, which will move the deadline to February 16th, to give the government time to hash out several complex issues and pass a long-term budget. Although this bill passed the House on Thursday, Mitch McConnell likely can’t even get a chunk of his own Senators, let alone Senate Democrats, to vote on it. And if the Senate can’t pass any funding resolution, or if Trump decides to veto it, then the government officially shuts down. So why is a government where one party holds both houses of Congress and the White House unable to pay the bills? And what does that mean for you?
How we got here is simple enough. The GOP needs more than a simple majority to pass any sort of meaningful budget bill, and they don’t have it. To get it would require compromising with Democrats on a few key issues:
- The first is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program: Trump ended it in September (although a court resurrected it) while demanding a bipartisan compromise from Congress. So Congress did their job, drafted one, and Trump promptly rejected it, possibly because the bill had concessions for “s***hole countries.”
- The second is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): After letting funding for the program, which provides free health insurance to nine million children, lapse in September, the GOP has attempted to get Democrats to pass the bill by tagging a six-year extension to the continuing resolution, hoping that Democrats will simply drop all discussion of DACA until the bill passes. The problem, in part, is that retiring Senator Jeff Flake was publicly promised something on DACA by GOP leaders, and now that he’s not getting it, he’s siding with Democrats.
So, that’s the political end of things. What does it mean for you, personally?