Five months ago President Trump set the stage for a showdown when he announced that he would unilaterally, and for no reason but bigotry, end protections for America’s Dreamers on March 6.
Last month that move led to a stand-off that caused a brief government shutdown as Republican leaders refused to even hold a vote on the broadly popular DREAM Act.
Even though it was the first government shutdown in American history under single-party control, public opinion was split at the time about whom to blame — Democrats, who were trying to protect 800,000 innocent young people brought to this country as children, or Republicans who were looking to score political points at their expense.
At 12:01 am, with handfuls of Democrats ready to make a deal to fund the government for two years, Republicans shut down the government for an unprecedented second time in two weeks, making clear that their inability to govern has reached an a historic level of imbecilic futility.
The linchpin of the breakdown was Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who filibustered the bill ostensibly over the increase to the nation’s deficit.
“I can’t in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits,” Paul said on the Senate floor.
But only two months ago, Paul was more than happy to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit when it lined the pockets of the wealthiest Americans via the Republican tax scam.
In Paul’s grandstanding tradition, he was not actually calling for substantial changes to the legislation, instead pushing an amendment that would show how his colleagues were breaking earlier pledges to curtail federal spending.
In other words, he was the hypocrite was calling the hypocrites hypocrites.
Shortly after the shutdown took effect, the House and Senate were expected to resume work to restore government funding. But, once again, America finds itself in the midst of an entirely avoidable crisis inflicted on us by Republican cruelty and ineptitude.
No political party has ever made so strong a case that they have no business governing. Thankfully, this year, Americans have the chance to give them the unceremonious exit they have earned.
UPDATE 2:09 AM: Having put on his show at great expense to American integrity and institutions, Senator Paul ended his filibuster less than two hours into the shutdown, and the Senate passed a sweeping two-year spending bill, which will now head to the House for a vote.
UPDATE 6:49 AM: The House of Representatives has passed the Senate’s spending bill. It is expected to be signed by President Trump this morning, ending the second government shutdown of 2018.