By Senator, Lena C. Taylor
As 2018 nears an end, we can’t help but wonder about the future of our nation. In the less than two years of a Trump presidency, the country is experiencing our third government shutdown this year. Due to the constant barrage of resignations, social media missteps, Russia probes, indictments, and more, it is easy to forget we have been here before. In fact, we started 2018, with a government shutdown.
From Jan. 20 to Jan. 23 of this year, the issues of immigration and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) funding was contentious in budget votes. The best we could do was stop-gap measures to keep us hobbling along until February. On Feb. 9, we faced the second shutdown. Ultimately, a law was passed to increase the nation’s borrowing limit, provide disaster relief, and funding for most agencies for the rest of the year. However, we know that 25% or roughly nine federal agencies saw funding end on Dec. 22. And as we enter nearly a week of our current government shutdown, we realize it may not be a quick fix to get the government back on track. At the crux is the self-hyped deal maker, Trump really is not that effective at the “art of the deal”. Let me explain.
Throughout his campaign and has recently as November, Trump has repeatedly stated that Mexico would pay for his border wall. In addition, he stated that it would cost about $33 billion. Specifically, the administration was looking for $18 billion for the physical wall, $5.7 billion for technology, $1 billion for road construction and maintenance and $8.5 billion for staff. A few days ago, Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney basically acknowledged that Mexico would not in fact be paying for the border wall, which is now reported to increase in cost as much as an additional $40 billion dollars.
During the first shutdown, it is rumored that Democrats offered Trump $20 billion for the wall in exchange for Trump’s support of permanent safeguards the roughly 700,000 DACA immigrants. Trump was have initially agreed and then reneged. Here we are at a third shutdown and Trump is insisting on $5 billion to reach a budget deal, but there have been leaks that the administration make accept $1.6 billion, while democrats have lowered the amount, they were willing to fund to $1.3 billion. Couple that with Trump hedging on whether it is called a “wall” or “fence” and not acknowledging that there really is a difference between the two things, we are faced towards a serious showdown. There is no “art” in missed pay, disruption of services, or government dysfunction. Meanwhile, an estimated 800,000 people are directly impacted by the shutdown and the scores of businesses, is yet to be determined. But as Trump, in typical shenanigan style, tweeted out recently that Democrats should know that most of those impacted by the shutdown lean Democratic. The sad reality is that Trump is incapable of understanding the impact of a shutdown is bi-partisan and harm our entire country.