If a Shutdown Happens, McConnell Has a Plan

Politico reports he'll keep Senate in session, try to foist blame on Democrats
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2018 1:37 PM CST
If a Shutdown Happens, McConnell Has a Plan
This Jan. 3, 2018, file photo shows the Capitol in Washington. The government is financed through Friday, Jan. 19, and another temporary spending bill is needed to prevent a partial government shutdown after that.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

If he were a betting man, it doesn't sound like President Trump would be betting on a short-term budget agreement passing Congress by Friday. In brief comments to reporters outside the Pentagon Thursday, Trump said there "could very well be" a shutdown. "We'll see what happens. It's up to the Democrats," Politico quotes him as saying. That seems to be Mitch McConnell's line, too. Politico reports—by way of GOP sources and an email from McConnell it viewed—that should the short-term funding bill the GOP is pushing not pass by the Friday deadline, McConnell plans to try to foist the blame for the ensuing shutdown on Democrats and their DACA-related demands, particularly those Democrats whose seat will be up for grabs this fall and who hail from states Trump won (there are 10, Politico notes).

The reported strategy is for McConnell to keep the Senate in session all weekend and arrange a slew of votes that could put Dems in a bad light, should they continually vote against things like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. If a shutdown does kick in at midnight Friday, the AP reports the impact would be evident but not paralyzing. Federal workers would be impacted and national parks could close, but essential things—Social Security payments, Homeland Security, the military, air traffic control, food inspection—would truck on. There could be an economic cost, though. In a great primer on what a shutdown could mean, the Los Angeles Times notes that the 16-day 2013 shutdown dropped Q4 GDP growth from 3% to 2.4%, per Standard & Poor's estimates. (More government shutdown stories.)

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