Just weeks after Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) shut down the United States federal government for three days, the Government found itself (briefly) in another government shutdown.
Here’s what’s important:
- The last shutdown occurred in late January because Senate Democrats were unable to broker a deal with Republican leadership and President Donald Trump on border wall funding and a permanent fix on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects nearly 600,000 DREAMers.
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delayed a vote on a two-year spending deal past midnight to complain about the budget deficit and the lack of fiscally conservative principles found in the continuing resolution. The budget bill, which did not contain any immigration legislation, was passed in early morning hours on February 9th.
- The Democrats had almost no leverage in these negotiations. This budget deal was passed despite the fact that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) spoke for over eight hours on the House floor in support of attaching a clean DREAM Act to the spending bill. After the “Schumer Shutdown,” in which the Senator ordered his colleagues to filibuster the continuing resolution without DACA, the Senate Minority Leader caved to pressure from moderate Democrats and the President, effectively stripping him of all political capital.
Why It Matters: The Republican Party has the upper hand. After a long victory lap following Trump’s State of the Union, the GOP has begun to see a new path towards victory in the 2018 midterms. However, Congressional Republicans were not careful while negotiating, and have risked losing the conservative base.
Bottom Line: Much is needed to be done, including funding Trump’s border wall and protecting DACA recipients, but little is expected before the midterms.