On Monday, Jan. 24, the three-day government shutdown ended when Congress compromised to pass a short-term spending bill despite the uncertain fate of DACA recipients.
While no consensus has been reached on who caused it, just about everyone can agree that the government shutting down for any amount of time is generally a bad thing. The government shutdown adversely affected the performance of “non-essential” government programs, like NASA, the IRS and the United States Air Force Academy.
In the aftermath of the shutdown, pundits have attempted to assign blame. Although public opinion seems split equally between blaming Senate Democrats and President Donald Trump, most of the media comes down on the opposition party, or at least agree it puts the Democrats in an awkward position.
“While they may not be able to admit it publicly (or even to themselves), it’s clear that the Democrats have deliberately manufactured a government shutdown,” wrote Thomas Binion, an opinion contributor for The Hill.
“As has been the case in each and every policy debate so far, compromise between the parties has been elusive,” he continued. “…Democrats, exerting the leverage they have over what can pass the Senate, will block any compromise.
“The media consensus is in: The Democrats got their butt kicked,” commented Fox News’ Howard Kurtz. “Left-wing groups are furious with [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer] for caving in, and he barely got anything from the Republicans in exchange for stopping the shutdown.”
— The Hill (@thehill) January 23, 2018
“After prepping their activist base for a long shutdown fight, key [Democratic] party elites surrendered to fears that the White House was winning the messaging fight,” wrote The Week’s David Faris, suggesting that the Democrats will now have a fundamental problem reinvigorating their base and being taken seriously.
“The overarching problem is that even if Democrats can get everyone in their caucus on board for another fight in February, their opponents on the other side of the aisle now have credible reason to believe that they are bluffing,” Faris warned.
In the wake of what seems like endless political pettiness and partisan bickering, some question if these necessary deals can even happen in such polarized times.
The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser challenged the notion that these great compromises are possible.
“Both Bush and Obama spent months in search of elusive “grand bargains”. … They didn’t get them,” she wrote. “Obamacare happened with Democratic votes alone. The Trump tax cut was purely a product of the Republican-controlled House and Senate.”
Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying….with a big additional focus put on Military Strength and Border Security. The Dems have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018
Glasser goes on to blame Trump: “As Congress careens toward its next shutdown, few have any idea what Trump will do next, and the initial talks on Tuesday seemed to suggest the sides were even farther apart then before the shutdown started.”
Getting the next continuing resolution through Congress by Feb. 8 may even be a harder deal than usual.
According to Business Insider, congressional leaders will have to agree on “funding levels for defense and nondefense programs over the next year and a half,” something that is guaranteed to be contentious.
While the concept of big compromise may be dead, short-term deals on the fate of 800,000 DREAMers and military programs ultimately need to be addressed, forged and passed through Congress.