Best Takes on the American Federal Government Shutdown

“If you say take it or leave it, you have to be prepared for leave it.”

United States Capitol Washington
United States Capitol in Washington DC (Shutterstock/Orhan Cam)

The United States government ran out of funding on Saturday after Democrats and Republicans failed to do a budget deal that could get sixty votes in the Senate.

The two sticking points are the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which Republicans failed to reauthorize last year, and the deportation of migrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Democrats argue these so-called Dreamers should be allowed to stay in the country.

Here are the best takes I’ve read on the crisis.

  • Matthew Dowd: “President Trump had promised that he would run government like he ran his businesses. Promise fulfilled. Trump Casinos, shut down. Trump steaks, shut down. Trump wine, shut down. Trump university, shut down.”
  • Ezra Klein: “I don’t know that I have ever seen anything as cynical in American politics as Republicans spending four months refusing to reauthorize CHIP, then attaching its reauthorization to a stalled spending bill and now saying it’s Democrats who are blocking CHIP’s reauthorization. [House speaker Paul] Ryan and [Senate leader] Mitch McConnell could bring a clean CHIP reauthorization to the floor today and every Democrat would vote for it. There is a breathtaking cruelty in treating health care for children this way.”
  • Edward Luce: “Mr Trump is betting that the public’s anti-immigration feeling will outweigh its disgust with Washington’s latest shenanigan.”
  • Jennifer Rubin: “The notion [Republicans] are entitled to [Democratic] votes to break sixty without negotiating with them is bizarre. If you say take it or leave it, you have to be prepared for leave it.”
  • Matthew Yglesias: “Trump set the current crisis in motion last September, when he revoked Barack Obama’s executive order that protected Dreamers — young unauthorized immigrants brought to the US as children — from deportation, but he offered no guidance about what he wanted to happen next, other than for Congress to do… something. The lack of clarity emboldened immigration hardliners in the [Republican] caucus while simultaneously raising hopes for a deal among immigration reformers. But Trump’s intervening behavior wound up salting the earth by leaving everyone feeling that he might screw them over at any moment.”