Photo. Waiting for a thaw in Washington. (Mark Trahant photo)
When will the longest government shutdown in history end?
This is Trahant Reports.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, who’s a close ally of President Donald J. Trump, told Fox News over the weekend that the president should open the government for “a short period of time, like three weeks” and then negotiate again with Congress. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, well, all bets are off, then he said the president could do it himself through emergency powers.
Washington is frozen because the president, the Republicans in the House and the Senate, and the House Democrats do not have enough power to say “yes.” Only no, not that. So the White House insists on a border wall and the Democrats say fund government and then let’s talk about the wall. That’s followed by a dismissal of a coast-to-coast border wall that would cost far more than the $5 billion-plus requested by the president.
A couple of polls published over the weekend show that most Americans are blaming President Trump and Republicans for the government shutdown. CNN reports that it found that more than half of all those surveyed — 55 percent — blame the president. The poll found 32 percent blamed Democrats and 9 percent said both were responsible. The Washington Post and ABC News said polls showed 53 percent blamed the president and 29 percent Democrats. The polls also found that most Americans discounted a “crisis” at the border and called it a problem.
The Senate could end the shutdown by taking up several funding bills already passed by the House of Representatives. Those bills would likely be vetoed by the president, but Congress could vote to override the veto with a two-thirds majority.
Across the country tribes, federal employees, contractors, and nonprofits are reporting about the significant hardships. On the Blackfeet Nation there was food distribution for employees who are not being paid. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe said the situation could grow far worse if there is not a resolution soon.
In Albuquerque, an federal employee told Indian Country Today “nearly everyone is furloughed at BIA’s ABQ office” including Human Resources, Environmental Safety, Facilities, Construction, Land titles and Records, and Accounting. “One thing people who are furloughed are doing is applying for unemployment and / or local credit unions are giving 90 days of 0 percent interest loans, if this isn’t resolved,” the worker reported. “Next week I’ll be going to my credit union to take a loan to cover my bills (student loans, mortgage, groceries, car payment, insurance, gas, etc.). Once I get my paycheck, I’ll pay my credit union back.”
As a famous tweeter might put it: Sad. There’s nothing like a personal loan to the United States of America.
I am Mark Trahant.