As Trump digs in on shut­down, Se­nate GOP should mull veto over­ride

The Star Democrat - - OPINION - REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DIS­PATCH DIS­TRIB­UTED BY CRE­ATORS.COM

One easy so­lu­tion to the three-week govern­ment shut­down ap­pears to be grow­ing more vi­able by the day: Since Repub­li­cans and Democrats in both houses of Congress have al­ready agreed to a budget, they should pass it re­gard­less of veto threats by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. If he re­jects the bill in stub­born de­fense of his ill-con­sid­ered bor­der wall, Repub­li­cans should aban­don Trump’s sink­ing ship and over­ride him.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., re­fuses to let a budget floor vote pro­ceed if Trump won’t sign it. But the job of Repub­li­cans on Capi­tol Hill is not to bow to this mer­cu­rial pres­i­dent’s whims. They rep­re­sent their con­stituents, who soon will start to feel the pain in very real ways as im­por­tant govern­ment ser­vices are cur­tailed.

Pres­sure on McCon­nell and other Repub­li­cans is mount­ing, and they know they can­not hold out for the “months or even years” that Trump re­port­edly told con­gres­sional lead­ers he was will­ing to wait to force fund­ing for the bor­der wall.

Start­ing Fri­day, 800,000 govern­ment work­ers will stop re­ceiv­ing their pay­checks. A cas­cade of ser­vice cur­tail­ments will be­gin af­fect­ing Amer­i­cans in harsh ways. Tax re­fund checks won’t be pro­cessed. Mort­gage ap­pli­ca­tions that re­quire fed­eral ap­proval won’t be pro­cessed, im­pact­ing the hous­ing mar­ket.

Air­line travel faces de­lays as air-traf­fic con­trol staffing is pinched. Ac­cord­ing to CNN, in­creas­ing num­bers of Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion agents are call­ing in sick to protest the re­quire­ment that they con­tinue work­ing with­out pay. These are just a few of the many ways the ef­fects of the shut­down will be passed on to the Amer­i­can pub­lic, and when enough con­stituents get fed up, mem­bers of Congress will hear about it — loudly and an­grily.

McCon­nell is one of 22 Se­nate Repub­li­cans facing re-elec­tion battles in 2020, and his role in pro­long­ing the shut­down is likely to fac­tor in the bid for his seat. “Mitch McCon­nell has a prob­lem — and it’s Don­ald Trump,” po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Mary Anne Marsh wrote on the Fox News web­site.

A few Repub­li­cans have an­nounced their de­ci­sions not to seek re-elec­tion, which frees them from wor­ry­ing about voter back­lash for aban­don­ing Trump. “There is no ex­cuse for even a short-term, par­tial govern­ment shut­down,” Sen. Lamar Alexan­der, R-Tenn., stated. “I’m not for a govern­ment shut­down un­der Pres­i­dent Trump.”

In­creas­ing num­bers of Repub­li­cans in both houses are start­ing to wa­ver. “It’s not the way to gov­ern. There’s no rea­son why, and it makes zero sense that in the name of bor­der se­cu­rity we should be de­fund­ing ... the three en­ti­ties re­spon­si­ble for securing our bor­der,” Rep. Brian Fitz­patrick, R-Pa., told Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio.

The na­tion is be­ing held hostage by Trump and his dwin­dling base of wall-ob­sessed ex­trem­ists. A veto over­ride is the quick­est route to re­open the govern­ment while Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic mod­er­ates ne­go­ti­ate a long-term im­mi­gra­tion so­lu­tion.

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