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I loved the Oval Office drama with Don, Chuck, and Nancy. I even enjoyed filling in imaginary speech bubbles above Mike’s head. While all the players in politics and media want to run this “government shutdown” hype train, it is mostly hype.
Congress arranges the discretionary budget, which is about one-third of annual federal spending, into twelve standard annual appropriations. Just to be clear on the current state of the 12 discretionary budget appropriations:
Five of twelve regular appropriations are already authorized. None of those will be subject to “shutdown:”
Defense was consolidated with Labor/HHS/Education, signed into law as Pub.L.115-245.
Energy and Water appropriations act was consolidated with the Legislative Branch, and Military-Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations, signed into law as Pub.L.115-244.
Agriculture is being considered with Finance and General Government, Interior, and Transportation/HUD. It is being talked about as the “Farm Bill.” These 4 are likely to pass.
This leaves three regular appropriations standing alone:
- Homeland Security
- State/Foreign Operations
These three are what is likely left to “shut down.” The old folks are getting their checks, Medicare and Medicaid payments will be made, the military are getting paid, the VA is fully funded, as is military construction, education… But Bob Mueller and his minions might lose their ability to run the charge card and won’t get paid until the Commerce/Justice/Science appropriation passes.
The House and Senate could certainly choose to make the “crisis” as big as possible if they refused to pass the “Farm Bill” without the other remaining appropriations. That, however, does not appear to be in any legislator’s interest. So, we will likely get a limited “shutdown” of a limited set of agencies and programs. Many of the Justice and Homeland Security positions will be “essential personnel,” so they will show up for work and may have a paycheck come two weeks late.
Since President Trump does not want to make the American people feel the Swamp’s pain, he likely will not have the national parks and monuments shut down and barricaded, as Obama did. Indeed, we saw the difference between an Obama shutdown and a Trump shutdown in January 2018:
The government shutdown didn’t spoil the experience of visitors this weekend to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.
The open-air monument, which President Barack Obama barricaded off during the opening days of the 2013 shutdown in what Republicans said was the “weaponization” of a government funding crisis, is open to all this year as part of the Trump administration’s determination to do a shutdown the right way — if such a thing is possible.
President Trump’s top aides said the open-air parks of national parks and monuments would remain open, and be patrolled by police and rangers as usual, though buildings would be shut, bathrooms might not be cleaned and trash wouldn’t be collected.
It is a lovely pen and ink drawing, with sufficient white space to let you color it with pencils, markers, or crayons—whatever you have at hand while anxiously or joyously riding out the Trump Bigly Shutdown of 2018. If that won’t do, you can always do a little dance:
Oh, and look, there is even a theme song available, perhaps for those who insist on beating their heads against the desk.