Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


Federal Government Reopens After Thirty Five Day Impasse

Federal Government ReopensPresident Donald Trump has signed a bill to temporarily reopen the government for three weeks, on Friday, Jan. 27.

The resolution brought to an ending the partial government shutdown that was a result of a standoff between Trump and Congress regarding funding over a boarder wall

As a result of failing to resolve a dispute between Trump and Congress over a barrier along the Mexico-United States, nine government agencies were left without necessary funding on Dec. 22, 2018.

The following day, Vice President Mike Pence tried to broker a deal. Although an agreement was not reached, Congressional leaders and the White House agreed to continue negotiations throughout the shutdown.

Negotiations were ongoing for 35 days. Congressional Democrats refused Trump’s deals that would include over five billion dollars for a border wall, and some Republicans supported bills proposed by Democrats to reopen government without Trump’s demanded funding.

Despite bipartisan efforts, neither of these bills received the 60 votes needed to close debate and pass in the Senate. 

According to Joseph Patten, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science, the first shutdowns started in the 1970s, but they were largely over bigger budgetary issues.

Unlike those earlier shutdowns, Patten said that this shutdown is over “nothing.”

“We have 700 miles of wall already,” he said, noting the current fencing and barriers that are across the southern border.

Trump’s desired plan for a border wall lacks specific details as to where more security might be beneficial, as well as how much the funding would be appropriate to match his vision.

Eleanor Novek, Ph.D., professor of journalism, considers it unreasonable for Trump to expect funding for a boarder wall in exchange for agreeing to fund the government. She claims that many experts on boarder security have said that the proposal is “wasteful and ineffective.”

Novek believes Trump is using the shutdown as a “political bargaining chip that excited his vase voters, and no one else.”

Patten reiterates this action by Trump commenting that the president’s entire campaign in 2016 was about a border wall, yet with two years of unification in the House and Senate, Trump was unable to gain funding because the congressional Republicans’ kept putting it back, due to a lack of clarity on where more security is needed.

“What I’m saying is this is not really a public policy issue like other shutdowns, it’s simply a political chess game,” stated Patten.

Kenneth Mitchel, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, and an associate professor of political science, agrees stating that “[He doesn’t] think the government shutdown has anything to do with policy. The reality of the political struggle is polarization.”

The government shutdown speaks to the severity of the bipartisan divide in Washington. The two political figures taking the stage are Trump and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-California).

Patten stated that Pelosi’s approval rating has gone up as Speaker, since she has stood up to Trump and his demands. He warns that her base will be furious with her if she gives funding for the wall.

In speaking with Eric Schwartz, a sophomore political science student, he explained that he thinks Trump’s requests for funding for a wall began as a political stunt in order to show his supporters that he was serious about fulfilling this central campaign promise. However, Schwartz said that the president got himself in too deep, and that he considers the government shutdown ineffective, as no funding resulted from the political deadlock.

In a last-minute appeal to Congressional Democrats, Trump extended a deal that would provide temporary protection of undocumented immigrants who receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), “Dreamers,” in exchange for partial funding of his requested wall.

However, Democrats refused his offer, stating that DACA recipients are legally protected and the president should fulfill renewal regardless. 

Landon Myers, a senior political science student, claims that Democrats did not reject this out of an unwillingness to compromise but because Trump didn’t actually offer anything. Instead, he said that the offer was a non-started. “Firstly, DACA was intact before Trump became president, so he took it away and is now trying to offer it,” said Myers. Secondly, a federal court (The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco) just ruled that [Trump] can’t touch DACA for at least 10 months, meaning that for at least a year he can’t touch it.”

“What is he offering when the courts are saying he can’t even get rid of it,” Myers inquired. With Trump offering a deal that was obsolete, it is apparent that neither party is willing to yield.

If Republicans and Democrats cannot reach agreement on funding for a barrier at the border by the Feb. 15 deadline, Trump has said that he is ready to renew the confrontation or declare a national emergency to bypass Congress altogether.

IMAGE TAKEN from Politco

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