GOP senators start complaining that their own party is holding workers 'hostage'
As the Trump shutdown drags on for a third week, Trump’s Republican allies in the Senate are showing signs of wavering in their commitment to coughing up the $5 billion he’s demanding for his border wall.
In late December, Trump threw a tantrum and caused a partial government shutdown by refusing to sign a bill to fund the federal government that didn’t include funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border — a wall that most Americans don’t want, and that Congress deliberately chose not to fund.
Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is determined to let Trump run roughshod over democracy and keep the shutdown going. But as 800,000 federal workers across the nation face day after day without a paycheck, other GOP senators are slowly, tepidly voicing support for reopening the government even without funding for the wall.
“We don’t need to hold them hostage,” Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) told CNN, referring to federal workers.
Alaska’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told CNN she’d “like to see” votes on bills to reopen the government. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) told CNN that the Senate “should be doing everything we can here to minimize the impact of this partial shutdown. Voting on appropriations bills — we can do that.”
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also said he could “potentially” support efforts to reopen the government.
More and more Senate Republicans seem to be feeling the pressure of Trump’s tantrum-fueled shutdown. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), two of the GOP’s most vulnerable senators up for re-election in 2020, had already voiced support for reopening the government with or without funding for a border wall, along with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.
Of course, while a growing number of Republican senators are wavering in their support of the Trump shutdown, many remain steadfastly loyal to it.
After Trump’s boringly racist primetime address meant to bolster support for his position, Iowa’s Sen. Joni Ernst reiterated her unwavering commitment to following Trump’s lead. Even though Democrats are voting on bills to reopen the government, Ernst launched into a partisan broadside by accusing Democrats of “playing games” while praising Trump’s wall obsession.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has led the passage of bills through the House that would reopen the government. And this week, she is leading another push to reopen individual departments of the government, like the Treasury and Interior departments, that handle now-languishing services like processing tax returns and managing national parks.
McConnell is ceding his constitutional authority to the White House by refusing to allow a vote on any bills to reopen the government that Trump doesn’t like.
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are steadfast in their commitment to reopen the government. Some are even vowing to grind Senate business to a halt until McConnell allows a vote on bills to end the Trump shutdown.
In the end, the American people place the blame of the shutdown squarely on the shoulders of Trump and congressional Republicans. Trump demanded it — and now Republicans are dealing with the consequences of submitting to his demands.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.