Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Shutdown Averted As The Republicans Back Down

(This image of a fight in the U.S. Congress in 1798 is from rememberingtherepublic.blogspot.com.)

It looks like a government shutdown won't happen -- at least not for a few more months. The congressional Republicans, and the president, had hoped to use their power to force some changes on the Democrats and the American people. They wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, provide funding for Trump's border wall, eliminate grants going to "sanctuary cities", and give a huge increase to the military -- all items the Democrats opposed.

Trump tried to threaten the Democrats by telling them he would eliminate the insurance subsidies for low-income workers under Obamacare, but the Democrats stood firm. And the Republicans backed down -- knowing they would be blamed for any government shutdown.

Planned Parenthood will continue to receive funding, sanctuary cities will get their grants, and no money was provided to build a border wall. Democrats did agree to a spending increase for the military (about half of what Trump had asked for) and provided some money for electronic surveillance at the border.

Republicans will take these things and try to make it sound like they had won this debate, but they didn't. When push came to shove, and time was running out, the Republicans in Congress (and the president) backed down.

Of course, none of these matters have been settled for good. The agreement just funds the government for the rest of this fiscal year (until the end of September). The funding for fiscal year 2018 (starting on October 1st) will be debated this summer -- and I'm sure the Republicans will try to sneak all kinds of odious things into it. The Democrats, especially those in the Senate, will need to remain unified and strong -- and if necessary, shut the government down in October to protect the American people.

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