Who should we blame for the just-concluded government shutdown?
Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats.
If there was ever an issue with the potential to bring both sides of the aisle together, one would think it would be the thousands of DACA recipients across the United States. Polls show that almost 9 in 10 (87 percent) of Americans believe that Dreamers should be allowed to remain in the U.S. if they meet certain requirements, such as working or going to school. Given that these young men and women have already gone through extensive background checks, what has stood in the way?
Donald Trump and the GOP.
Never before in the history of the United States have we had a shutdown where a single party has control over the both chambers of Congress and the White House. Though the government did face “shutdowns” during the Carter administration, federal employees weren’t sent home and denied pay. Under Trump’s administration, some were.
When Trump said he’d run government like a business … I don’t think many of his supporters realized it would be like the businesses he bankrupted.
At a meeting with both Democrats and Republicans, Trump explicitly stated: "I'll sign whatever immigration bill they send me." When presented with a bill drafted by senators from both parties, Trump infamously asked why we had to let people in from “shithole countries” like Haiti, and El Salvador. Despite his previous statement of signing whatever legislators brought to him, Trump rejected this deal and added further insult to the injury with his shameful comments.
After being condemned by both Republicans and Democrats for this language, lawmakers still sought to find a deal in order to avert this shutdown. Rather than negotiating with Democrats, (and even some Republicans who favored a fix for DACA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to push forward a vote. Ten votes shy of what he needed, McConnell, Trump and the GOP shut down the government.
Though the House did vote to keep the government operating, they did not include any language to provide a fix for DACA recipients. McCarthy, Costa, Valadao and others instead voted to kick the can down the road.
While our Kevin McCarthy found the time to assign a staffer to sort through and pick out all of the pink and red Starburst candies as a gift for Trump, he apparently did not have time to meet with Dreamers who traveled all the way from California to speak to him. Instead, he had them arrested outside his office. Though Valadao and Costa both claim to support Dreamers, neither stood their ground. Every single day that there is no solution presented is a day more Dreamers are put at risk for deportation.
Trump and the GOP have nobody to blame but themselves. While Chuck Schumer even offered Trump his prized border wall during last minute negotiations, (something 62 percent of Americans oppose) he still rejected the deal.
McCarthy and his party have chosen to put their party before their county. When almost 9 out of 10 Americans believe that Dreamers should be allowed to stay, maybe it's some of our elected officials that need to go.
This is the legacy that Trump, McCarthy and the Republican Party shall leave behind (along with some centrist Democrats).
So back to the main point. Who is to blame? Let’s let Trump answer that himself via his favorite social media platform. In 2013 in the aftermath of a government shutdown Trump tweeted: “Leadership: Whatever happens, you're responsible. If it doesn't happen, you're responsible.”
Cheers. Happy anniversary Mr. President. I hope those Starbursts taste just as sweet as the irony that you face today.
What better way of celebrating Trump’s biggest accomplishment of winning the Electoral College (while losing the popular vote by over 3 million votes) than by illustrating one of his biggest failures?
Once you are done with your Twitter tirade, there are bipartisan bills in the House and the Senate that provide comprehensive immigration reform that could pass today. It’s time for you, and legislators from both sides of the aisle to come to the table (again), and compromise on something the vast majority of Americans support.
Randy Villegas is a Bakersfield native working on his PhD degree in politics at UC Santa Cruz.