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All things Government Shutdown

Goes without saying big impact to the country…due to shutdown.

To blunt the shutdown’s effects, the administration on Tuesday called tens of thousands of employees back to work, without pay, to process tax returns, ensure flight safety and inspect food and drugs. But some people involved in the shutdown discussions in the White House have privately said they anticipate that Mr. Trump will grow anxious about the economic impact in the coming days, accelerating an end to the stalemate. Others close to the president believe Mr. Trump has leverage and are encouraging him to stand by his demands.

“Congress needs to look at the harms that we’re talking about,” Mr. Hassett said, “and address them.”

Mr. Hassett said on Tuesday that the administration now calculates that the shutdown reduces quarterly economic growth by 0.13 percentage points for every week that it lasts — the cumulative effect of lost work from contractors and furloughed federal employees who are not getting paid and who are investing and spending less as a result. That means that the economy has already lost nearly half a percentage point of growth from the four-week shutdown. (Last year, economic growth for the first quarter totaled 2.2 percent.)


Growing numbers of TSA workers will not show up their screening jobs at airports due to financial hardship. This is consequential.

Who is really responsible for the hijacking here (metaphorically speaking)?
T and McConnell.

The airport security officers whose absence during the partial government shutdown has led to longer screening lines aren’t just calling in sick. Growing numbers are citing financial hardship for not reporting to work.

The Transportation Security Administration has seen a sharp increase in absenteeism since the funding impasse began on Dec. 22, particularly after workers missed their first paycheck last Friday. In a news release Wednesday on checkpoint operations, the agency said, “many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations.”

TSA screeners were ordered to continue working without pay because their jobs are considered critical to security.


I thought the 13th Amendment in 1865 banned slavery?
Surely forcing people to work without payment is tantamount to slavery.


Astounding but not surprising with this shutdown/standoff.


The Democrats are sticking with their plan for T to be held responsible for the shutdown and there will be no wall, and they will not be additional pawns to T’s impetuous (non) plans.

The proposal today was dreamt up by Pence, Kushner and T…and no Dems participating.

The Democratic majority is newly elected and highly cohesive. Why on earth would any appreciable number of Democrats break away from their leadership to do business as individuals with a president none of them trust—about an issue none of them think should be negotiable, reopening the government? They will not do it, and it should have been obviously predictable from the start that they would not do it. Trump could not even get moderate Democrats to come have lunch with him at the White House this week. How could he imagine that a TV talk would entice them to break ranks and destroy their own political futures within their party?

The president will gain some immediate validation from his closed information system. Fox News, and talk radio, and MAGA Twitter will rant enjoyably about how mean it is for Democrats to reject Trump’s latest self-help scheme. That will be nice for the president to hear. But Fox News, and talk radio, and MAGA Twitter cannot protect him from the real-world consequences of the shutdown he forced. They can not erase the video showing Trump proudly talking about how he would be the one to do it. They cannot sustain his poll numbers among the large majority of America that is non-Fox, non-MAGA.

Sometime Trump ally Senator Marco Rubio tweeted Saturday afternoon that it is not reasonable for Democrats to demand unconditional surrender by the president. But it was Trump who rejected the path of compromise when he shut down the government.

The shutdown was a demand for unconditional surrender. Unfortunately for him, the president lacks the political realism to recognize that he doesn’t have the clout to impose that surrender. He’s the one who will now have to climb down, and very soon, probably within days. The end of a hostage-taking is not a surrender. But it will surely feel that way to the hostage-taker—and deservedly too.


Reaction to T’s speech…none.

Next week…more of the same. But Dems will try to get 6 bills passed in hopes of opening up the government.

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Exponentially growing worse…

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So far, this is the longest shutdown in US history, and looks like these workers can not strike due the Taft-Hartley Act. Many are wondering if the TSA workers did not show up to work, and disable the airports from not running in a safe way, then wouldn’t that get people’s attention. Looks like the TSA workers are staying at work though…adhering to perhaps an allegiance to their group.

Clearly the stalemate has not end in sight…unless there were cataclysmic events from a host of problems that result from this slipshod arrangement.


  1. What about all the federal employees and contractors who aren’t getting paid? What are their rights?

As of this past Friday, roughly 800,000 federal employees have missed their first paycheck. About 380,000 employees have been furloughed and another 420,000 are currently working without pay. Congress has already passed a bill that guarantees all federal employees back pay once the shutdown is over, but that does little to help them while it drags into its fourth week.
Javier Zarracina/Vox

What’s more, thousands of federal contractors are potentially affected by the shutdown as well. As many as 500,000 contractors are affiliated with the agencies that are caught up in the shutdown, according to NYU professor Paul Light. Many of these contractors won’t receive any back pay at all, while others might not see any impact on their paychecks, depending on how their employers have negotiated their contracts.

Interestingly, federal employees can’t use strikes to protest the current situation. Because of the Taft-Hartley Act, which was passed in 1947, it is actually illegal for federal employees to strike, and many unions have urged their members to refrain from doing so. As Quartz points out, the impetus for the law was to deter federal employees from disrupting key government services by striking to attain better wages. It probably didn’t consider that workers would strike because they weren’t being paid for their services at all, the Atlantic notes.

Workers who don’t go into the office because they are participating in a strike could be considered “absent without leave,” the American Federation of Government Employees’ policy director Jacque Simon told the Atlantic. As a result, they could face penalties at work including, potentially, losing their jobs.

They do have some recourse, however.

The American Federation of Government Employees has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Trump administration, noting that it’s illegal to keep workers on the job without compensation. It won a similar challenge after the shutdown in 2013, ultimately guaranteeing workers who participated in the suit twice the back pay they were owed.

  1. How many times has the government shut down in the past?

The government has shut down 21 times since 1976, the same year the modern budgeting process for the federal government went into effect. Since then, only one president — George W. Bush — has made it all the way through his term with no shutdowns.

  1. Do other developed countries have government shutdowns?

Government shutdowns are uniquely American. When the government shuts down in the US, the people who often feel the pain are government workers going without paychecks or those who depend on affected federal programs like food stamps. In other developed countries like Australia, politicians are the ones who feel the brunt of a shutdown. For instance, the Australian parliament risks being dissolved if government isn’t funded, which, in theory, makes it less likely to happen.

We cannot find another democracy that shuts itself down,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters this week. Referencing parliament dissolving itself in Australia, Hoyer quipped that it “would not be a bad alternative.”

Other developed nations also have a lower threshold for passing budgets — a budget typically needs a simple majority rather than the higher percentage required in the US Senate. Simple majorities help prevent this kind of gridlock, but they could also carry the risks of making budgets more partisan documents, since you need fewer people to pass them.

“We are hearing from our workforce that many of them are calling out not because they are sick but because they are unable to make it to work for financial reasons,” Bilello said.

The agency hasn’t compiled the specific reasons, but officials assume it’s because of such things as transportation and childcare costs, he said. There are no plans to discipline employees who cite such financial issues.

The more than 51,000 airport security officers make an average of about $41,000 a year, according to federal data from May 2017.

And a call to action…


Yes - those of us looking on from abroad, look on in amazement at a Government shutting itself down. Our Govt Departments here are funded on a yearly basis. If the yearly Budget is not approved by Parliament, then the Government falls, (Much like the recent vote of confidence in the UK - which the Tories - supported by the Irish DUP survived) for it is taken as a vote of confidence in the ruling party. The ruling party needs to have sufficient votes to avoid loosing a vote of confidence, otherwise it cannot rule. This is a problem for the current ruling coalition in Australia, where they currently have a very slim majority, and the loss of one vote would see the need for a fresh election.
Each Department is then responsible for budgeting within its allocation and that includes the funding for public servant salaries. Should a Department overshoot for some unforeseen reason then it needs to go back to the Minister of Finance for further allocation, or else cease that activity.
I remember on one occasion when I serving on the Naval Staff in Defence HQ in Wellington, a helicopter pilot on secondment to the Royal Navy had undertaken some highly expensive training, which had not been allocated for in the budget. The cost of the training was such that it was going to strip almost all of the other funds from the budget I was managing. I had to pen a very apologetic letter to the then Minister of Finance (who also happened to be the Prime Minister) asking for more money. We got a very nice letter back approving but saying - “Yes! But don’t do it again!” That pilot subsequently went on to help rescue a badly injured Russian seaman from a ship in the Southern Pacific off the coast of NZ in very heavy seas, hovering his helicopter over a ship pitching and rolling in 10 metre swells. He was awarded a medal for his effort.


Pence’s response on the need to re-open the government…“yeah, ummm”

#Standoff #Stalemate #WeDontHaveAclue


T’s lack of skills as a negotiator and someone who’d come to the table and make a good deal for everyone are at this point well known. His only requirements now have been - build the wall (because it fulfills my campaign promise and pleases my base), keep out the immigrants (because it pleases my base) and we’ve reached a crisis level emergency at our borders (also known as a ‘humanitarian threat.’ (pleases the base)

At all levels, there will never be a negotiation…it is another winner take all. T’s lack of leadership is astounding but not surprising.

And it may take forever…But his poll numbers drag, the country is not happy about seeing 1/4 of the Federal government show up for work and not getting paid.

It can only end badly…but that’s no newsflash. :exploding_head:

Trump’s management of the partial government shutdown — his first foray in divided government — has exposed as never before his shortcomings as a dealmaker. The president has been adamant about securing $5.7 billion in public money to construct his long-promised border wall, but he has not won over congressional Democrats, who call the wall immoral and have refused to negotiate over border security until the government reopens.

The 30-day shutdown — the impacts of which have begun rippling beyond the federal workforce into the everyday lives of millions of Americans — is defining the second half of Trump’s term and has set a foundation for the nascent 2020 presidential campaign.

The shutdown also has accentuated several fundamental traits of Trump’s presidency: his apparent shortage of empathy, in this case for furloughed workers; his difficulty accepting responsibility, this time for a crisis he had said he would be proud to instigate; his tendency for revenge when it comes to one-upping political foes; and his seeming misunderstanding of Democrats’ motivations.

Trump on Saturday made a new offer to end the shutdown, proposing three years of deportation protections for some immigrants, including young people known as “dreamers,” in exchange for border wall funding.

But before Trump even made it to the presidential lectern in the White House’s stately Diplomatic Reception Room to announce what he called a “straightforward, fair, reasonable, and common sense” proposal, Democrats rejected it as a non-starter.


Oh yeah…what about getting through via tunnels? Easy…and done.

More WTF.

Also last week, Mexican federal police posted a tweet about the discovery of a smuggling tunnel under the state of Sonora’s border with Arizona.

While standing 70 feet underground in the Galvez smuggling tunnel between Tijuana and San Diego, Border Patrol agent Lance Lenoir told NBC News last year that border fencing will not stop drug smugglers.


AP FACT CHECK: Trump pitches wall as magic bullet for drugs



Profile of Mitch McConnell in NYT - I would say it’s worth a review to see who this head of the Senate and indefatigable T supporter truly is…and why holding the (T) line is in his interest. He likes “helping to call the play.

He isn’t a party guy. He’s just — there. He’s just a fact of life.” Like a spy or a pinto bean, McConnell has used this blankness to his advantage,

When I first approached McConnell’s office about interviewing him to discuss this legacy, shortly after the Kavanaugh confirmation, he agreed quickly, eventually obliging with several hours of conversations over the course of two months. He also encouraged a couple of dozen friends, colleagues, conservative pundits and members of Trump’s White House staff and cabinet to talk to me. The ways in which a subject tries to shape the reporting of his or her story — as canny subjects do — are revealing in their own right. During the interviews, there were the recurrent phrases: McConnell “can very quickly read the last page in the book.” He was “a listener by nature.” And in virtually every McConnell-authorized conversation, it was said that he was a “student of history.”
> He is — and also of his place in it. McConnell is atypically unconcerned, among senators, with his public profile. Even friends who attest to his dry wit and well-concealed sentimentality acknowledge a Man Without Qualities aspect to him: “He isn’t a jokester,” says Slade Gorton, the former Republican senator from Washington State and an old friend of McConnell’s. “He isn’t a party guy. He’s just — there. He’s just a fact of life.” Like a spy or a pinto bean, McConnell has used this blankness to his advantage, made it a carrier for designs greater than himself. His ascent in Republican politics came through his willingness to be the face of party prerogatives — fighting against campaign-finance reform during the Clinton and Bush presidencies, impeding a then-popular president’s agenda during Obama’s — that were distasteful to the general public, his shrugging willingness to play a villain when a villain was required.

But beneath this unconcern is a different kind of self-regard, a sense of himself as a historical figure in waiting. In his first Senate race, his campaign paid for a rare two-minute TV commercial tracing the arc of his life and work at a time when his elected career consisted of two terms as the judge-executive — a county-level mayor, essentially — of Jefferson County, Kentucky. When he was named Senate majority leader in 2014, and The Louisville Courier-Journal described him as the third from Kentucky, his staff called the paper, insisting he was the second and demanding a correction. (Earle Clements only filled in briefly for Lyndon Johnson after his heart attack.) At the McConnell Center that McConnell founded at the University of Louisville, his alma mater, there is an exact replica of the mahogany desk McConnell used as a junior senator, which was once occupied by Henry Clay, a fellow Kentuckian and one of the heroes of the 19th-century Senate, who engineered the Missouri Compromise. There is a bronze statue of Clay standing at the desk, but the brass nameplate on the desktop says “Mr. McConnell.”

But the particular way in which McConnell has always conceived of his own historicity is significant and unusual among contemporary Republicans. The Tea Partyers have their Mel Gibson-movie fantasies, the Trumpists their Pinochet-meets-“Die Hard” pastiches. But McConnell aspires to be not the bloody and maybe tragic hero in a revolutionary drama but one among a short list of undisputed masters of the machinery of American government, both essential to and dwarfed by the history of this machinery. Notably, the political philosopher he cites to the near exclusion of all others is Edmund Burke, the 18th-century Irish writer and Whig politician who essayed trenchantly against the French Revolution, and whose influence on 21st-century Republican politics you would have to squint very hard to make out.

This vision is also unmistakably senatorial. McConnell recognized his future in politics by high school and narrowed his ambitions to the upper chamber by the time he graduated from college; on his law-school applications, according to his authorized biographer, John David Dyche, one of his professors wrote that McConnell ‘‘will be a U.S. Senator.” “I was running for the Senate in ’84 from the moment I was sworn in as county judge on Jan. 1, 1978,” McConnell once said — and he has never aspired to anything outside it. “I think most senators look in the mirror and think they hear ‘Hail to the Chief’ in the background,” Terry Carmack, who has worked for McConnell on and off since his first Senate campaign, told me. “But he always wanted to be in the Senate.” And from early in his Senate career, McConnell later wrote, “I wanted to one day hold a leadership position in my party, helping to call the plays and not just run them.

The Senate majority leader wields an elusive kind of power. The position, which dates back to the 1920s, is as paradoxical as the institution, which is given the authority to make great changes but also given as many tools to impede those changes as to enact them. To the Senate’s defenders, this is the “cooling saucer” of George Washington’s probably apocryphal explanation; to its detractors, it is more like an unreleasable parking brake on progress, never truly succeeding at holding back the future but ensuring that the country’s arrival at it will be as delayed and frictional as possible. At the turn of the 20th century, the Senate proved ineffectual in regulating railroads and banking. It failed to grasp the severity of the Depression until Americans had endured its hardships for years, offering only the meekest of remedies until Franklin D. Roosevelt forced lawmakers to do otherwise. Isolationists in the chamber impeded efforts to check Adolf Hitler’s advance in Europe; Southern conservatives were effective enough at delaying legislative action on civil rights to prompt the oft-quoted observation of William S. White, The Times’s congressional correspondent in the 1950s, that the Senate was “the South’s unending revenge upon the North for Gettysburg.”


I’ll put this here as it’s the best I can find. A Trump voter from the last election (someone I know very well ) was listening to an NPR report last week, an interview with a person who said they had known DT for 30 years + and noted he had filed for bankruptcy 50 times in his lifetime.
“50 times”, my “friend” said, “that’s terrible, I wish I’d known that”.

I thought to myself, “you weren’t listening very well during the campaign”.

Also, an article by Patti Davis in WAPO.


Day 33 of the shutdown.

Dems are still not negotiating until the government is open, but 2nd and 3rd ranking house Dems Hoyer and Clyburn are stating that they could get to a large number like $5.7 billion but not for a permanent wall but with smart wall tactics - drones etc AND include some permanent status for Dreamers.

The strategy of course is to give T something that is close to the number he wants, but not build a wall…and get back the DACA recipients their due. They know that putting T in a position where it looks like he is losing is not a good strategy …make it appear that T would get a win and he can gloat about it.

We shall see…

Feels like we are in dangerous territory here…and wish it would come to a head and change.

House Democrats are also drafting their own plan for border security, which is expected to be made public in the coming days. “We are going to be talking about substantial sums of money to secure our border,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic leader, told reporters.

Representative James E. Clyburn, the No 3. Democrat, said separately that Democrats could back a $5.7 billion funding measure that included drones and refitted ports of entry — but no wall. That is the amount Mr. Trump has demanded for the wall he wants to build on the southwestern border.

Using the figure the president put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security, then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it with what I like to call using a smart wall,” he said.

Both Mr. Hoyer and Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, seemed to leave the door open for eventual negotiations to include talk of some kind of border barrier — so long as the government was open first.

When asked point-blank if Democrats would agree to talk about a wall, Mr. Jeffries did not say no but reiterated Democratic talking points about what the party favors: new scanning technology to detect drugs and weapons, improvements in infrastructure at ports of entry and more personnel, including more immigration judges.

Mr. Hoyer was asked whether Democrats might consider permanent protections for the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, in exchange for “some new physical barriers.” He said it was clear that Mr. Trump would put money for a wall on the negotiating table.

It’s clear what the president wants; it’s clear what we want,” he said. “If you have a negotiation, both parties are going to put on the table what they want.


How about giving him a papier-mâché wall? :wink:


Even a Trump-friendly poll by Fox News shows that the majority of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown. And to me, this is more telling: the Democrats in Congress are a distant second with only 34% blaming them. Summary of the poll on Fox News site.