Skip to main content

The Schumer Shutdown

As we reported on Thursday evening, the House of Representatives passed a 30-day budget bill in an attempt to prevent a shutdown, which will kick in on Saturday at 12:01am absent any further action. If passed by the Senate, this extension would provide ample time for legislators to hammer out a longer-term budget for the government.

Sadly, it doesn't look like this will be happening soon. The Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), will stand almost unilaterally against any plan that the GOP puts forward to keep the government open. They have stated that they seek a solution for DACA Dreamers as a prerequisite for their support on a budget bill, even though Congress has until March to solve the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

NBC reported on the matter, writing, "Democrats have enough votes to block the spending bill in the Senate and prevent Republicans from keeping the government up and running." NBC's source was a "senior Democratic aide."

Blocking the budget (which, in effect, prevents the government from fulfilling its duties) is clear-cut obstructionism, and it will probably hurt the Democrats more than it will hurt the Republicans in the 2018 midterms. Consider a Quinnipiac poll that showed that the plurality of voters, 34%, would blame the Democrats if the government shuts down.

Those defending the Democrats point to the 2013 government shutdown, which was the result of the crusade of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) against Obamacare subsidies. However, in that instance, the shutdown was tied to fiscal policy: the implementation of Obamacare had a direct effect on the budget.

However, in this instance, the budget debate is over policy that has nothing to do with the federal budget itself. I am not opposed to establishing safeguards for the DACA Dreamers (as long as the plan maintains the normal naturalization process and prevents chain migration), but the Democrats' effort is an example of why so many Americans believe that the government is dysfunctional.

The #SchumerShutdown hashtag is accurate to the core: the U.S. government is Chuck's hostage, and amnesty for the Dreamers is his demand. It is extortion.