Holiday Season US Government Shutdown
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Trump, other Republicans, and undemocratic Dems share blame for the latest government shutdown, especially over the holiday period – a bah humbug message to ordinary Americans, especially hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers.
Shutdowns occur when Congress fails to pass a measure funding government operations or the president refuses to sign appropriations legislation.
When this happens, non-essential federal personnel are furloughed until the issue is resolved. Under Trump, it happened three times – from January 20 – 22, 2018, on February 9, and again post-midnight December 21.
With Dems controlling the House in January, further shutdowns over the next two years may happen. On Friday, Trump blamed Dems for what both sides of the aisle share blame, DLT most of all.
This time it’s over his fortress America demand along the US southern border with Mexico – wanting over $5 billion wasted on a wall, unable to stem the tide of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from coming to America, no matter its length or height if fully built.
Walls don’t work. A previous article explained they’ll be breached, tunneled under, or gone around by water or air to reach America.
The only partially possible way to keep out unwanted aliens is by walling-in the entire country and putting an impenetrable roof over it. Even that won’t likely work. Trump’s scheme is hugely ill-conceived – solely for political reasons, nothing else.
Responsible legislators should overwhelmingly reject his scheme. If money poured down a black hole of waste, fraud, and abuse for walls, militarism, endless wars, and corporate handouts were used for vital homeland needs, especially healthcare, education, and other essentials, America would be safe and fit to live in unlike now.
It’s a nation run by dark forces, operating by their own rules, no others – waging war on humanity at home and abroad, serving privileged interests exclusively at the expense of most others.
Trump wants lots more than a border wall. He wants nationals from the wrong countries and religions banned from entering America.
He wants the nation more militarized than already at a time America’s only enemies are invented one. No real ones exist – not Russia, China, Iran, or jihadist groups the US created and supports, using them as proxy imperial forces.
He wants over a trillion dollars to upgrade America’s nuclear arsenal – instead of ordering vital denuclearization to save humanity from possible armageddon that may happen as long as these weapons exist, along with long-range ballistic missile delivery systems able to strike anywhere globally with pinpoint accuracy.
His belligerent agenda supported by the vast majority in Washington is polar opposite what just societies cherish. Partially shutting down federal operations is symptomatic of governance thumbing its nose to the citizenry.
Occurring during the holiday season makes Trump, other Republicans, and Dems a collective scrooge – a pox on them all.
The shutdown affects about one-fourth of federal operations. Congressional funding for 75% of the government was already approved.
Yet nine of 15 federal agencies began furloughing employees, hundreds of thousands of workers affected. Over 400,000 essential workers remain on the job.
They include FBI, CIA, NSA, and other intelligence community operatives, personnel involved in special counsel Mueller’s probe, air-traffic controllers, prison guards, weather service forecasters, food-safety inspectors, Forest Service firefighters, border patrol and TSA employees, the postal service, some national parks, federal courts – along with the Education, Health and Human Services, War Department and military forces, the Energy Department, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health.
Federal agencies affected by shutdown include the Treasury, State, Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor, Interior, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture Departments.
The IRS will largely shut down, a small percentage of its staff kept on the job.
Shutdown can end if Republicans and Dems agree on some kind of appropriations compromise, pass a continuing resolution to fund government at its current level, or a combination of the two for a stated period, providing more time for final resolution before Congress adjourns sine die.
Otherwise, things could be more uncertain under the new Congress in January – Republicans controlling the Senate, Dems with majority House control, a prescription for more intense wrangling than during Trump’s first two years in office.
As long as he insists on full funding for his border wall Dems reject, shutdown could extend through the holidays, potentially well into the new year.
The longest previous shutdown lasted 21 days in 1996. This one could be resolved quickly or drag on for weeks without compromise – the way most all disagreements are resolved.
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