Funding for nine federal departments and several agencies is set to expire at midnight tonight. The NY Times says this morning, For now, hopes of avoiding a shutdown seem faint. With recent actions in the Mueller investigation, the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly, an ongoing trade war, disrespect toward our allies, glee from our enemies such as Putin, and a tumbling stock market, “Individual-1” is placing us in grave danger.
The least of our problems, though far from insignificant, is the impact to New Jersey of a prolonged shutdown. Only about a quarter of federal agencies will be impacted. Nonetheless, the Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury Departments will all shutter. At the worst possible time in the midst of the Holiday Season those New Jerseyans who remain working won’t get their federal pay checks until a spending bill is passed. Although the exact details are not yet available, as examples, the Small Business Administration could no longer process loans and Federal Housing Administration loans would be delayed. Social Security checks, though, would still be processed as usual. Go here for more information. More up-to-date information will be forthcoming.
The Senate is scheduled to to vote today. It’s original bill for continuing federal government operations omitted $5 billion for construction of the absurd wall. Yesterday the House added an amendment to its companion bill which provides the $5 billion. The Senate requires 60 members to pass such a bill, but will need Democrats to support it. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats will vote against it. Let’s hope that the Dems will stick to their guns.
So far “Individual-1” has showed no signs that that he will sign a bill which does not fund the Wall, in which case the government shuts down. As unfortunate as such a fate would be, on February 3 when congress reconvenes and the Democrats control the House they will insist that paying for a useless wall is a folly and force Individual-1 to at some point sign off on providing funding to re-open the the government. Now with only hours to go, it seems unlikely, but conceivable, that some very short-term solution might be reached to keep the government open for a few days.
Regardless, the broader problem remains. We have an unstable, dangerous “Individual-1,” fearing the threat of Prosecutor Mueller, with even Republicans expressing their dismay, and he determined to satisfy his small fan base with “America First”, and many uncaring, damaging, and often unconstitutional actions. As just another indication of insensitivity, “Individual-1” had said that he planned to go today to Mar-a-Lago, where he hob nobs with wealthy supporters, regardless of what happens, although most recently there has been a hint he may relent. The bottom line: the possibility of impeachment looms larger and may be the only solution.