It's July, so it's time for Congress to start worrying about the next government shutdown threat from Donald Trump, and time for Republicans to pretend like they'll take a stand against him. Everyone in Congress knows that the July work period is short, they'll leave for pretty much the whole of August, and will come back the second week of September with a couple of weeks to figure out government funding and, this year, a debt ceiling hike.
The White House, under the direction of maniac acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is pushing to have a year-long continuing resolution at current levels instead of a new budget for 2020. A bunch of Republican senators are "revolting"—Politico's word—and telling the White House in a letter this week that would cause "draconian" funding conditions, making the Pentagon "incapable of increasing readiness, recapitalizing our force, or rationalizing funding." Because it is always all about the military for Republicans. "Simply put," they wrote, "our adversaries do not handcuff their militaries with funding gimmicks like continuing resolutions—nor should we."
That concern about adversaries might be better spent on convincing their leader Mitch McConnell to allow the Senate to take up and pass election protection efforts, since the existing threat right now is Russia mucking about with the 2020 election, again. But their defense contractor funders have other ideas. Oh, and you can forget about infrastructure. It's not even in the mix as Trump's big plan for bipartisanship anymore.
The White House isn't bothered by this supposed revolt, because of course it isn't. There's no more John McCain there to cast a decisive vote against Trump. The rest of the Republican crew are reliable lapdogs. A senior administration official blew the letter off, saying it "lacks a plan to stop Democrats from dismantling the president's deregulatory and border security agendas with poison-pill riders."
As of now, the hurdle in government funding is this stand-off between Senate Republicans and Trump, and there are no further meetings scheduled. McConnell is bleating opposition to a continuing resolution and Democrats are insisting on higher domestic spending. This will most likely remain the status quo until the last week of September when everyone panics and they either make some kind of deal, or Trump gets another shutdown. Odds are about even for either outcome.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.