The longest shutdown in the history of the United States has ended some hours ago. The shutdown, which as everyone already knows, happened over the House not funding the wall along the Southern border, indeed ended with the House not funding the wall along the Southern border! This shutdown, like the previous one, happened over immigration issues. As Trump mentioned it though, the shutdown can eventually be back any time within three weeks. What are the things that matter here?
- The shutdown occured, not under a House of Representatives under the Democrats’ rule. The house still belonged to the GOP when Trump refused to accept the government funding on December 23rd last year. After the Government went into shutdown, the legislation which was prepared by the Democrats and previously agreed upon by the GOP senators, to fund the DHS withing February 8th was turned down by the Senate, guaranteeing that the shutdown would continue into 2019; thereby President’s absence from the NYE party at Mar-a-Lago.
- On January 2nd, a day before the long-awaited raise of Dems to the House majority, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an interview with Sean Hannity mentioned “Mitch McConnell is never going to bring a bill to the Floor of the Senate that doesn’t have the money for the wall… If Trump gives in now, that’s the end of 2019 in terms of him, being an effective President; that’s probably the end of his presidency.”
- On January 9th, Trump personally visited the GOP lawmakers at the Capitol Hill. This meeting, after which Trump boasted over a Republican Party never thus united, was quite alarming as it was the President who dropped by instead of having the lawmakers over at the Oval Office. The very day, 8 GOP lawmakers in the house, voted alongside their democrat colleagues to pass a bill to re-open IRS and the Treasury; the bill, later refused by the Senate, made Senator Murkowski (R-AK) lash at the President over how border security had anything to do with the taxpayers not being able to get their tax returns since IRS was closed. Trump’s effort to keep the party solid and strong, raised more doubts as Mitch McConnell refused to appear before the reporters after the President’s meeting.
- On January 10th, Trump walked out of the meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leade Schumer, raising the tension to the level that was later seen around the cancellation of Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Afghanistan by the White House and cancellation of SOTU by the House.
- The shutdown eventually ended, as a Democrat bill that refused to meet any of the GOP demands was more successful than a Republican bill, indeed funding the wall. Nevertheless, both bills failed to reach the minimum 60 votes needed to re-open the Federal government.
- Throughout the shutdown, over various occasions, Democratic leaders specifically mentioned border security as their priority, refusing to bow to the term “wall” in their agreements. The veery first bill, which Trump refused and closed down the government through refusing it, included 4 billion dollars of funds for the border security. What seems to have happened here is a sort of mullish stubbornness that desires everyone and everything to bow to it and only gives in when he sees a strongly divided base.
Trump has bragged about his deal making capabilities ever since he started running for the office, and dragged the nation into its longest shutdown. The shutdown has now ended but it’s likely to come back and another shutdown can technically break Trump’s base in the Capitol Hill. The lawmakers and senators who met with him during the shutdown will probably have to change side if they are up for re-election next time; it is probably easier to bear with an unbearable President for about two years than losing their constituency.