This Is Why Trump Will Shutdown The Government


Jonathan Bernstein wrote in Bloomberg Opinion yesterday that I was being too pessimistic in my most recent post when I said there was a 60 percent chance of a government shutdown this fall.

Jonathan, who was kind enough to link to that post in his piece, specifically said, “Extended shutdowns only happen when one side actively wants one, and so far I don’t see evidence of that.”

Jonathan’s thinking is sound but a bit outdated.

At least since the start of the Trump administration, there are three rather than what used to be just two sides to a shutdown fight — congressional Republicans, congressional Democrats and the White House — and Trump and his GOP House and Senate colleagues aren’t always on the same page.

In theory there should be no space at all between them. The GOP leadership should want to avoid a shutdown so the Republican representatives and senators running for reelection can get home to campaign and hold fundraisers instead of being stuck in Washington voting on inane matters. Trump should want the same thing given the continuing predictions that Republicans are in danger of losing their majorities in one or both houses this November.

But, as he has demonstrated repeatedly, Trump is more about Trump than House and Senate Republicans. He wants Congress to appropriate the full amount for the wall he wants to build between the U.S. and Mexico, and he very likely sees the GOP leadership’s strong desire to get its members out-of-town as soon as possible as increased leverage to get that.

Vetoing a continuing resolution — the funding bill that will need to be enacted by October 1 to keep the government open — will be the one thing that will prevent congressional Republicans from getting what they most want and this White House almost certainly will assume that a week-long shutdown will make Congress more rather than less amenable to Trump’s position.

Trump may well view this as his last chance to get his wall.

In addition, as I first noted several weeks ago, Trump may well view this as his last chance to get his wall. If Democrats take over one or both houses in November, the chances of even incremental funding will drop precipitously.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Trump may well view a shutdown over the wall as the best way he’ll be able to enrage, inflame and energize his base over immigration this fall. This political equivalent of serving fresh red meat to a piranha may be especially important if Trump’s Mueller (and other) problems are getting even larger and GOP voters need to be re-motivated.

There’s no guarantee that Trump will do this. He has repeatedly threatened drastic actions before only to pull back at the last minute…and he may well do so again.

But, regardless, the situation Jonathan Bernstein said was absolutely necessary for a government shutdown to occur this fall…that “one side actively wants one”…absolutely exists this year.

As a result, a shutdown showdown, if not an actual shutdown, has to be anticipated.

Don’t Leave Just Yet…There’s so much more here:

Raising The Chances Of A Government Shutdown This Fall To 60%
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney Says CBO Was Right After All
House, Senate GOP Should Use This Year’s Appropriations To Stop Trump On Russia
Yes…Trump Will Shut Down The Government This Fall
You’ve Been Warned: Trump’s Trillion Dollar Budget Deficits Are Here To Stay