Can Congress Override The Shutdown? The Ball Is In Lawmakers' Court, Too
Over three weeks into the government shutdown, neither side of the partisan aisle is suggesting an end in sight. Since Trump has maintained that he will not approve a bill without border wall funding, and Democratic leaders have maintained that they will not cave to his demands, you might be wondering whether Congress can override the shutdown on its own, without the approval of the president. The short answer is that it could — but that's not likely to happen.
According to a CNN op-ed from former Republican rep. Charlie Dent, Congress could technically pass a series of budget bills for the remainder of the fiscal year, and even if Trump refused to sign them into legislation, the Senate could vote to override his veto. What's more, The Washington Post noted in an op-ed from the editorial board that if Congress pushed a bill onto the desk of the Oval Office, it could serve to "force the president's hand," so to speak, and politically pressure him into signing something.
But neither of those things seem likely to happen. For one, TIME noted that Congress has only overridden less than 10 percent of presidential vetoes throughout history. Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has confirmed that he won't allow them to anyway.
On Tuesday, McConnell told reporters via The Hill that he has no intention of overriding a veto from POTUS as a way of ending the shutdown.
Via the publication, McConnell said, "In a situation like this where the president in my view is in the right place — trying to get the right outcome … with regard to border security — of course [we won't override his veto]."
The Hill notes that other GOP lawmakers have also confirmed that it's entirely unlikely Congress would override the president's veto. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MT) said to reporters last week via the publication, "Twenty Republicans are not going to join with 47 Democrats and override a veto on this issue. It's like many other discussions here, a waste of time."
In the last three weeks, McConnell has blocked two bills from the House that aim to reopen the government. Per CNN, McConnell has repeatedly made it clear that he will not introduce legislation to the Senate floor if President Trump isn't going to sign it.
McConnell said on the Senate floor last week, via CNN, "The last thing we need to do right now is trade pointless -- absolutely pointless -- show votes back and forth across the aisle."
In response, Democratic lawmakers have argued that Senate Republicans have a responsibility to work towards a resolution in the midst of this crisis, even if the president won't.
Sen. Chuck Schumer made his own remarks on the Senate floor last week, saying in part, "Leader McConnell is hiding behind President Trump, saying he won’t bring to the floor a bill to reopen the government unless the president says OK."
The Congress, the Senate in particular, can no longer wait for this president to see the light of Reason. We gave it a good faith effort. Staffers worked over the weekend. Speaker Pelosi and I have gone over to the White House whenever we’ve been asked. But the president is simply not budging.
Throughout the shutdown, POTUS has used Twitter to emphasize his insistence on border wall funding. On Monday night, he tweeted, "Polls are now showing that people are beginning to understand the Humanitarian Crisis and Crime at the Border...Democrats will soon be known as the Party of Crime. Ridiculous that they don’t want Border Security!"
If you're concerned about the ongoing government shutdown, you can contact your senator, your representative in the House, or both, to let them know that you want lawmakers to work towards a resolution and end the shutdown immediately.