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The Democrats Won This Round, And It Wasn’t Even Close… April 28, 2017

We have just witnessed one of the greatest routs in modern American political history.  We are still waiting to see if a spending agreement can be reached so that a government shutdown at midnight on Friday can be averted, but whether a shutdown actually happens or not, the Democrats have won this round by a landslide.  Even though the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, during these budget negotiations the Republicans have backed down on major issue after major issue.  The Democrats are acting like they own Washington D.C., and the Republicans are letting them get away with it.  For years Republican politicians have had a reputation for being gutless and spineless, but in 2017 they are taking their lack of courage to a whole new level.

Since a border wall was the number one issue that Donald Trump campaigned on, many had been anticipating that he would battle hard to get funding for it.  But instead he folded like a 20 dollar suit, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has admitted to the press that he was anticipating that this might happen

As for the broader funding standoff, “I thought one of two things. I thought he’d either back down. Or he’d do [a shutdown], and it would be a fight we’d win,” said Schumer. “When the president just puts together his own plan, which is almost always hard-right given who the people around him are, he has problems.”

And since the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House, many social conservatives believed that this would be the time when Planned Parenthood would finally be defunded.

But that is not going to happen either, and the truth is that the Republicans did not even put up a fight.

On Thursday, the Democrats decided to reach even further.  They warned that they would shut the government down if the Republicans brought a bill to replace Obamacare up for a vote by the end of this week, and within hours  the Republicans backed down

Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday.

A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday.

Even though the Democrats have already gotten more than they could have ever dreamed possible, they are continuing to make more demands.

As we roll into Friday morning, the Democrats are warning that the government will shut down if the Republicans don’t agree to a bail out for Puerto Rico and billions of dollars of Obamacare subsidies.  An exasperated Trump fired off a tweet that clearly expressed his frustrations with these greedy Democrats

The Democrats want to shut government if we don’t bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!

The Democrats are like a football team that is already up 70 to nothing and is still running a no-huddle offense because they want to score even more points.

At some point you have to understand that you have completely embarrassed the other side and that it is time to end things.

If anyone out there believes that I am overstating things, can they please explain to me what the Republicans are going to “win” in this budget deal?

There may be a limited bump in defense spending, but other than that I can’t really think of anything.

My hope is that someone in the Republican Party will eventually grow a spine.  Perhaps it will be Trump, and it was a promising sign when he told Reuters that he is not too concerned if a shutdown actually happens

President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of a potential government shutdown on Thursday, just two days shy of a deadline for Congress to reach a spending deal to avert temporary layoffs of federal workers.

“We’ll see what happens. If there’s a shutdown, there’s a shutdown,” Trump told Reuters in an interview, adding that Democrats would be to blame if the federal government was left unfunded.

This is the kind of attitude that the Republicans needed to have weeks ago.

If the Democrats are going to be exceedingly greedy, the Republicans should simply let the government shut down.  The military and all “essential” operations would continue operating, and a lot of the “non-essential” operations that would temporarily close up shop would be stuff that we don’t actually need anyway.

So I don’t know why the Republicans are so fearful of a government shutdown.  Yes, the mainstream media would say that it is all their fault, but we are still well over a year away from the next elections.  If you were ever going to fight, now is the time to do it.  Instead of being so fearful of the mainstream media, our representatives in Washington should be concerned about what is good for the American people.

If the Republicans are always going to give the Democrats virtually whatever they want, why do we even have elections anyway?

We might as well just eliminate the Republican Party and go to a one party system like they have in China if Republicans are never going to actually ever do anything for us.

To me, it seems like the Democrats are almost secretly wishing for a government shutdown so that they can score some political points with the American public.  The Republicans should proudly stand united behind a bill that includes funding for a border wall, that defunds Planned Parenthood, and that completely eliminates all Obamacare subsidies and then let the Democrats force a shutdown by blocking it in the Senate.  At least that way the American people would be able to see that it is the Democrats that are to blame for any shutdown.

Instead, the Republicans have been groveling at the feet of the Democrats as if they are their masters, and it has been a horribly shameful display to watch.

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The Democrats Get Trump And The Republicans To Fold, And That Means There NEVER Will Be A Border Wall April 25, 2017

Well, that didn’t take long.  Yesterday I reported that the Democrats were threatening to force a government shutdown if money for a border wall was included in the bill to fund the government, and one day later Donald Trump has unconditionally surrendered.  Despite all of Trump’s promises, a border wall isn’t going to happen at this time, but of course he is pledging to “try again” in September.  But will anything change for the Democrats between now and September?  Of course not.  The Democrats will continue to use these same tactics whenever funding for a border wall comes up, and because Republicans always end up backing down on the most controversial issues that means that there never will be a border wall.

Do you know why the Democrats always get virtually everything that they want?

It is because they have a backbone.

They would have been willing to force a government shutdown that could have lasted for many months just to make sure not a single penny of taxpayer money was allocated for a border wall.

I certainly don’t agree with their principles, but at least the Democrats are willing to stand up for them.

On the other hand, Trump is showing that he is willing to flip flop on just about anything once he meets the least bit of resistance.

And if Trump is willing to give up on his number one campaign promise so easily, what else will he be willing to give up on?  The Huffington Post has compiled an excellent timeline of Trump’s border wall promises right here.  As you can see, he was very bold while he was campaigning, but now according to NBC News he has essentially thrown in the towel on a border wall less than 100 days into his presidency…

President Donald Trump has indicated that he’s willing to back away from his demand that a government funding bill include money to build a wall on the Southern border, a move that could help clear the way for Congress to avoid a shutdown.

A senior administration official tells NBC News that the president is open to obtaining funding for the border wall in the regular appropriations process for 2018 later this year instead of insisting it be included as part of the large spending bill to keep the government’s lights on past this week.

Of course we are being told that building the wall is still “an important priority” for Trump and that the administration will try again in September.  The following comes from Bloomberg

“Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him but we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year, and in the interim you see other smart technology and other resources and tools being used toward border security,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News on Tuesday.

But why in the world would the Democrats change their minds and give him funding for a border wall in a few months when they are so vehemently against it right now?

I have to say that I agree with Rush Limbaugh on this one…

“The Democrats seem to have successfully used this stupid, silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way,” Limbaugh said Tuesday, in one of his first major rebukes of the president. “What Trump is saying is if we need to get this done, then I’ll delay the spending on the wall until September. And it’s just a measly billion dollars.”

He continued: “Trump, I’m sure, does not ever think he caves on anything. But outward appearances are what they are. And the bottom line is that if he is willing to withdraw a demand of his for a measly billion dollars for the wall because the Democrats are threatening a shutdown, then the Democrats will have just learned that this threat works on Trump, too, not just all the other Republicans.”

Of course Trump and the Republicans have caved in on defunding Planned Parenthood too.

Actually I don’t think that they ever intended to put up much of a fight.

This is another battle that the Democrats would have been willing to shut down the government indefinitely to win.  They are completely united in their support for Planned Parenthood, and they would have been willing to risk the greatest governmental crisis in U.S. history to get their way.

So even though the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Democrats are winning on big issue after big issue because they back up their convictions with courage.

Yes, there are potentially other ways that the Republicans could sneak the defunding of Planned Parenthood into various pieces of legislation, but because enough Republican members of Congress are “squishy” on this issue it isn’t likely to ever actually happen.

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  If Planned Parenthood was going to ever be defunded, now was the time.

Since the Republicans have chosen not to even put up a fight, that is a very, very ominous sign for our nation.

Just like every single one of the Democrats, any Republican that votes for any bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood or that signs such a bill is going to be partially responsible for the blood of the countless number of babies that Planned Parenthood slaughters each year.

Unfortunately, most of these gutless Republican politicians seem unwilling to stand up for much of anything these days.  In fact, one Republican member of Congress has openly stated that she is “not going to risk a shutdown over anything”

Republicans will also be content: many members of the GOP had indicated they would be satisfied with a spending bill that included money for means of strengthening security along the border other than a wall. “Border security’s the main issue—whether that includes a wall or technology, drones, or repairing what we have,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) said Monday evening. Ms. Capito said she wasn’t interested in risking a shutdown over the border wall.

“I’m not going to risk a shutdown over anything,” she said.

So the Democrats are going to use the threat of a government shutdown to get their way on these big issues year after year until Republicans finally grow some spines and decide to stand up for themselves.

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Democrats: Trump Must Surrender On Funding For A Border Wall To Avoid A Government Shutdown On His 100th Day In Office April 24, 2017

Is Donald Trump going to unconditionally surrender to the Democrats and completely give up his dream of building a border wall in order to avoid a government shutdown on his 100th day in office?  As I have warned before, the Democrats are perfectly willing to force a government shutdown if the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress do not let them win all of the key battles in this funding bill fight.  It is being reported that the Trump administration wants 3 billion dollars for extra border security and for construction of a border wall, and the Democrats are insisting that they will keep any bill that includes money for a border wall from ever getting through Congress.  And of course the Democrats are also taking a very hard line on funding for Planned Parenthood, federal support for key Obamacare provisions, and resistance to increased defense spending.  If the Trump administration and enough establishment Republicans in Congress cave in to the outrageous demands of the Democrats, a government shutdown will be avoided.  If not, a government shutdown will begin on April 29th (Trump’s 100th day in office), and it could easily turn out to be the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States.

If Trump gives up on his border wall now, it is quite likely that he will never get it.

Emboldened by this success, the Democrats will simply threaten to block any new bill that contains funding for a border wall in the future.  At some point Trump is going to have to stand up for himself if he ever wants to see his number one campaign promise become a reality, and the longer he waits the less leverage he is going to have.

At this moment, the Trump administration appears to be taking a tough stance on border wall funding, and they have even offered a deal to the Democrats that would trade continued Obamacare payments to insurers for money for a border wall…

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief, said the wall is the administration’s “top priority” for the talks, adding they would support key ObamaCare payments to insurers if Democrats backed the border wall money.

“We’d offer them $1 of CSR payments for $1 of wall payments. Right now that’s the offer that we’ve given to our Democratic colleagues,” Mulvaney said during a Bloomberg Live interview, referring to the ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR).

In that same interview, Mulvaney added that “you cannot expect a president who just won [an] election to give up very easily on his highest priority.”

And I certainly agree with Mulvaney.  The border wall was the number one issue that Trump campaigned on, and if he unconditionally surrenders to the Democrats on this issue without much of a fight, it will essentially be the neutering of his entire presidency.

The Democrats seem to know what is at stake, and they are digging in for war.  At this point they are completely united in their stance that there will not be a single penny for a border wall.  The following comes from CNS News

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that President Trump should not expect Congress to give him any money to fund his “outlandish” border wall.

Trump has requested $1.4 billion to get the wall started in the current fiscal year, which runs through September, but Durbin on Sunday called it a political stunt and a poison pill:

“I hope the president will back off,” Durbin said.

So will either side back down by Friday?

I don’t think so, and that means that a government shutdown is coming.

Of course there is talk that Congress could pass a one week or two week extension to give negotiations more time, but that would just delay the inevitable.

And it isn’t just the border wall that is a sticking point.  Other issues such as funding for Planned Parenthood and increased spending for national defense could potentially derail any deal.  The following comes from Business Insider

Thomas Block, a Washington policy analyst at Fundstrat, described the problem in a note to clients on Monday:

“In the House, there is a group consisting of Tea Party and Freedom Caucus Republicans who believe that almost any spending bill is too large for them to support. Therefore, Speaker Ryan is likely going to need some Democratic support to get a bill passed. The problem is that no Democrats will support a bill that contains the president’s stated priorities.

“Furthermore, many Republicans want to use the spending bill to stop all funding for Planned Parenthood, a clear poison pill as far as most Democrats are concerned.”

In order for the public to have three days to examine any bill before a vote happens, a spending bill is going to have to be unveiled in the House by Wednesday at the latest in order to meet the deadline.

Is that going to happen?

I doubt it, but it is always possible.

But even if a bill gets through the House, that doesn’t mean that the Senate will be on board with it, and unless that bill contains funding for a border wall Trump may not sign it.

So what specifically would happen during a government shutdown?  The following is a good summary from Zero Hedge

  1. Details of which government functions stop are determined by the Office of Management and Budget.
  2. If it looks like a shutdown will occur, White House budget office works with federal agencies to determine which federal functions and employees are “essential” or “excepted.” The White House has latitude in how broadly it defines “excepted.”
  3. Agencies and services considered non-essential close. Federal workers will be furloughed without pay. The Federal Government employs over 4-million individuals, so this can be hundreds of thousands of workers affected. Congress may decide after the shutdown to pay them for the time off. Financial disruption is one concern.
  4. “Emergency personnel” continue to be employed, including the active duty military, federal law enforcement agents, doctors and nurses working in federal hospitals, and air traffic controllers. For the Department of Defense, at least half of the civilian workforce, and the full-time, dual-status military technicians in the US National Guard and traditional Guardsmen (those on Title 32 status) are furloughed without pay. Members of Congress continue to be paid, because their pay cannot be altered except by direct law.

Congress is only going to be back in session for two weeks before another extended 10 day vacation begins on May 5th.

That means that the clock is ticking, and at this point a deal does not seem close.

Personally, I am fully convinced that the Democrats are more than willing to allow a government shutdown to happen, because they believe that it will damage the Republicans far more than it will damage them.

So they are not going to move from their demands, and that means that either Trump is going to have to give up his dream of a border wall or there will be a government shutdown on his 100th day in office.

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