New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer’s insistence as Senate Minority Leader on holding the House Continuing Resolution bill hostage over amnesty for the 3.6 million illegal aliens imported by the Obama administration as children under the DACA program rightly earns this unnecessary government closure the colorful moniker of being the “Schumer Shutdown.”
As he was drafting the Constitution in the second floor study of his home at Montpelier, James Madison sought a way to temper the passions that he was certain would be given voice by the House of Representatives being as they were much closer and therefore much more beholden to the people in having to face reelection every two years. Inflamed passions over an issue could lead to the passage of some egregious legislation, reasoned Madison, unless these passions could be allowed to dissipate through more careful deliberation in the Senate. One way to slow the consideration of legislation to force more careful deliberation was to institute longer terms of six years for Senators, which Madison went to great lengths explaining in Federalist #62 as he elaborated on the Senate. In the modern era, requiring their election by an entire state as opposed to districts like those of the House contributes to allowing Senators the breathing room necessary for more deliberative consideration without the necessity of facing immediate reelection by a smaller group of constituents.
In practical terms, each chamber was allowed to employ the filibuster technique and define its terms, though this became unwieldy rather quickly in the House and was thus abandoned. In the Senate, the original three-fourths supermajority was eventually pared back to the current three-fifths majority of 60 votes. Requisition of a majority vote to close off debate was originally intended to serve as a protection for the rights of the minority to prevent the passage of dubious and egregious legislation, but by dropping the insistence that a member be forced to actually speak after having been recognized by the Chair, it has since become effective as a minority tactic to kill consideration of legislation with the mere threat of its invocation. Furthermore, cloture has long ago ceased being a tactic to prevent the passage of egregious and ill-considered legislation by forcing more deliberation and become instead a minority tactic of leverage to force adoption of legislation concerning unrelated issues by holding hostage passage of the otherwise unobjectionable legislation under consideration. Those in the minority can require passage of unrelated and unpopular legislation dealing with completely unrelated issues before conceding to support passage of legislation they otherwise find unobjectionable and were inclined to support in the first place. This was not the role cloture was intended to serve, but it has since become the role cloture plays.
In practical terms, a Senator can kill a Senate bill by merely threatening to invoke cloture when neither party has the sixty seats needed to close debate. More likely though, the Senator can force unrelated legislation to be tacked onto the bill under consideration knowing that these unrelated legislative bills which stand no chance of passage on their own will become law along with the original bill. Moreover, Senators facing reelection can be made to look bad by opponents pointing out that they voted for some unpopular legislation favored by the opponent’s party while failing to mention it was tacked onto legislation needed to address some issue of importance such as a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded.
Democrats successfully employed the media to cast the 1995 government shutdown as the fault of Republicans. Bolstering their case was House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s constant threat to allow a government shutdown if the Republican budget slowing entitlement spending was not adopted. President Clinton refused to sign the Republican budget and cast Republicans as attempting to hold him hostage over legislation to keep the government functioning. The media unleashed a barrage of stories featuring Gingrich threatening the shutdown with apparent zeal leading Americans to conclude Republicans were responsible for the shutdown. Since that shutdown and the negative perception voters came away with of placing its responsibility on the GOP, Republicans have trembled at the prospect of being blamed for another shutdown. Former House Speaker John Boehner was so fearful of incurring the wrath of voters against Republicans that he consistently rolled over to grant every demand of then-President Obama, even ones he demanded after they had supposedly reached a deal just to avoid the perception of having caused a shutdown.
Fortunately for Americans, gifted as he is with the outsized personality of a brash New Yorker, a penchant for tapping into the concerns of blue-collar voters, and a gift for summing up situations by bestowing clever nicknames upon his opponents, President Trump suffers none of the fear which grips establishment Republicans and has easily shifted blame for this government shutdown on Senate Democrats. President Trump summoned members from both parties to the White House for a closed-door conference to begin negotiations on resolving the DACA issue as a prelude to smoothing passage of the current Continuing Resolution bill. Knowing full well President Trump’s position on immigration and DACA in particular, Democrats led by Illinois Senator “Dribbling” Dick Durbin and Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer floated the idea of merely adjusting the numbers on the visa lottery system in an attempt to keep it alive despite Trump’s stated intention of killing the program. This exchange led to President Trump asking why we need more Haitians, which Durbin leaked to the media as Trump asking “why do we need more immigrants from these shithole countries,’ and leading Trump to refer to Durbin as Senator “Dicky” Durbin for leaking details of the meeting to the press.
Durbin has a history of falsifying meeting details such as the time back in 2013 when he made up a story about a White House meeting in which he accused a GOP leader of telling then-President Obama “I cannot even stand to look at you.” The meeting never happened and even the White House denied the exchange ever took place. It is far more conceivable that Durbin is also lying about President Trump’s supposed statement and deserving of the mistrust he has earned from President Trump for rushing out to leak details of the private meeting to the press along with the devastating nickname “Dicky” which Trump has bestowed upon him. Personally, I prefer the moniker “Dribbling” Dick Durbin as being far more appropriate and descriptive since Durbin can’t keep his mouth shut and only lies seem to come out of it.
The DACA talks didn’t blow up because President Trump allegedly referred to poor nations as “shithole countries” despite “Dribbling” Dick Durbin’s lie to the contrary. The talks blew up because Democrats refused to concede that President Trump wishes to end the egregious immigration abuses Democrats have put in place to usher in millions of new Democrat voters in their attempt to dilute and marginalize the votes of Americans who refuse to support their radical regressive agenda of open borders and world government. Their offer of merely adjusting visa lottery numbers demonstrated their intention to fight to preserve this egregious immigration abuse along with chain migration while attempting to provide amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants their schemes have already managed to smuggle into America under the auspices of programs such as DACA. It was the refusal of Democrats to recognize reality and negotiate in good faith which blew up the talks and led to an intractable impasse.
The days of Democrats employing teary-eyed emotional appeals to force unwanted unlimited immigration upon Americans are over as too are the days of having a weak-kneed president who will fall for such dramatic appeals. President Trump campaigned on significantly curtailing immigration by ending chain migration and the visa lottery system, enforcing the laws against illegal immigration and the hiring of illegal immigrants, deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes after serving their sentences, and building a border wall to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing at will. Blue-collar Americans who have watched their manufacturing jobs move overseas and then watched Democrats allow illegal immigration to force down the wages offered on the fewer employment opportunities remaining have no sympathy for Democrats wishing to continue selling them out for the sake of votes. Their champion is President Trump who hears their voices as they cry out in the wilderness ignored by Democrats who once championed their cause only to become beholden to a more radical and wealthy set fashionably residing on the coasts. Even more shocking to Blue-collar Americans are the establishment of sanctuary cities and states by Democrat officials to prevent the deportation of these illegal immigrants as a direct insult to them and a middle finger in the face of federal law.
President Trump has successfully branded this government closure as the “Schumer Shutdown” as evidenced by such liberal media stalwarts as the New York Times and Bloomberg referring to it in their headlines as a Democrat shutdown. It’s time for the reality that President Trump has succeeded in rolling back most of the radically regressive Obama administration agenda of the past eight years in his first year to set in with Democrats, many of whom are facing reelection this year in areas carried by Candidate Trump and where his support remains strong. Even after the White House talks were scuttled by Democrats insisting on preserving some form of their immigration apparatus, Republicans offered sweeteners such as a long-term extension to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and delay of some unpopular healthcare taxes which Democrats promptly rejected in their quest to force resolution of the DACA issue. Rejection of these sweeteners also contributed to shifting the blame for the government shutdown onto obstructionist Democrats.
Democrats are angling for amnesty as the ultimate resolution to the DACA issue while falsely claiming there are only some 800,000 immigrants which fall under the DACA program. In reality there are some 3.6 million DACA immigrants, and amnesty for this group would allow them to begin bringing in millions of their relatives under the chain migration laws if Democrats are somehow successful in preserving them from repeal. President Trump is absolutely correct in wanting to end the egregious abuses of the chain migration program as he attempts to transform America’s immigration system from one of family attachment to a merit-based system whereby those wishing to enter America demonstrate their ability to contribute to our nation and assimilate under our laws.
Meanwhile, there are a great many hardworking Americans, including members of the military, who are being forced to suffer under the Schumer Shutdown because Democrats insist on forcing unwanted immigration of undeserving persons merely wishing to escape their undesirable locations upon Americans not wishing to have them import their miseries into our country. Americans have awakened to the media lies attempting to smear President Trump’s tax reform act as employers have been handing out bonus checks and raises directly tied to its passage, while consumer confidence is increasing and employment is on the upswing. Coupled with the financial setback to many Americans brought on by the Schumer Shutdown, Democrats running for reelection are going to have a tough time explaining to irate voters why they unanimously voted against the Trump tax cuts, why the economy took off with their passage despite Democrat predictions of doom and gloom which never materialized, and why they then forced the Schumer Shutdown with their refusal as obstructionists to negotiate in good faith.
President Trump has correctly labeled Democrats as the party of obstruction and voters will well remember this come November. Democrats are obstructing President Trump’s agenda to Make America Great Again even as he succeeds in its implementation and positive results begin flowing to the American people from its adoption. This Democrat obstructionism in the face of renewed economic prosperity will not bode well for their electoral chances this fall, but it is reliably demonstrating to Americans that Democrats do not have the best interests of the American people in mind which may prove to hasten their demise as a viable party and end their adherence to the destruction of their radical regressive agenda. This is the only silver lining to be found in the Schumer Shutdown.