Best Possible Result, Still Not Good

9 January 2018

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Federal Government Closed for Five Hours Last Night

The US Federal Government is open for business today, thanks to a two-year funding deal hammered out in the Senate, approved in the House and signed by the president. As usual in Washington, it took a bit longer than expected, and so the government was technically closed for about five hours early this morning. The deal passed in the Senate 71 to 28, after Rand Paul (R-KY) managed to use the chamber's rules to delay the vote until after midnight. House members got up and into work around 4 am to get their ballots cast, 240 for and 186 against. The deal leaves out a solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, ignores the deficit, and probably is the best possible result for the country despite being a poor arrangement.

House Democrats voting for the bill numbered 73, while 119 voted against it. Across the aisle, 167 Republicans voted yea and 67 voted nay. The Democrats against it wanted a DACA solution, and the Republican opponents disliked the ballooning of the national debt.

The DACA issue shouldn't be hard to fix were it not for the nativist wing of the Republican Party. DACA participants, known as "Dreamers" for marketing reasons, arrived in the US without their papers in order when they were an average age of six. In the US, children that age are not prosecuted for violating the law because they don't have the moral capacity to know right from wrong. Deportation for the crime of a parent is wrong. So, they should stay. Period. End of discussion.

Nancy Pelosi and others on the Democratic side of the House wanted to replay the government shutdown of a few weeks ago, the one where their party took most of the blame for the closure. Ms. Pelosi stated, "We have a moment. They don't have the votes." Daniel Kildee (D-MI) agreed "I think there's a very strong sentiment that this is a moment that we can't let pass. We've allowed these moments to pass in the past. This is a moment we can't let pass without doing everything we can to move forward on DACA."

But Ms. Pelosi didn't have the votes on DACA, either. The Washington Post noted, "The bill's impact ranges far beyond the military --  renewing several large health-care programs, suspending the national debt limit for a year and extending billions of dollars of expiring tax breaks. The cost of those provisions exceeds $560 billion, though lawmakers included some revenue-raising offsets." In a choice between health care for voters and doing something for people who aren't citizens, a lot of Democrats opted to help the voters. Politics is not the same as justice.

On the GOP side, the deal is expected to add $320 billion to the national debt over the next decade. This comes after the party passed, without any Democratic votes, a tax cut of $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. The Republicans no longer get to pretend they are fiscal conservatives. They are not responsible stewards of taxpayer money. They are spendthrift debt-junkies who will add close to $2 trillion to the national debt before the next election. There were some members who voted to be more fiscally responsible this time, but their irresponsible vote on the tax cut cannot be forgiven nor forgotten.

In the end, DACA is not going away as a problem, and the national debt is eternal. Neither situation was going to be improved during a shutdown. If they could have been, they would have been during the last shutdown. Closing the government again would be the definition of insanity, doing the same thing again and expecting a different result.

© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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