Why Did The Government Shut Down In 2018? Republicans & Democrats Are Blaming Each Other
As the clock struck midnight on Saturday, Jan. 20, the one year anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration, much of the federal government was brought to a grinding halt. But this government shutdown wasn't part of any inauguration anniversary party prep. So why exactly did the government shut down in 2018?
In a late-night vote on Friday, GOP leaders in the Senate failed to muster the 60 votes necessary to advance a stopgap spending measure that would have extended federal funding for another four weeks, while also funding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. Although the measure had passed through the House earlier in the week, it was met with resistance from Democrats and a handful of Republicans in the Senate frustrated with President Trump's unwillingness to compromise on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Last year, Trump ended Obama's DACA program, which deferred deportation for young immigrants brought into the country illegally as minors, and called on Congress to pass a replacement that would "legalize DACA."
Yet as the time to approve a new federal budget ran out Friday with not even a stopgap funding measure in place, each party began to blame the other. "The vote to fund the government and the 9,000,000 kids depending on
#CHIP should be easy, except the Democratic Leader has convinced #Senate Ds to filibuster any funding bill that doesn't include legislation they are demanding for people who came to the United States illegally," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Friday as his party scrambled to try and find the necessary votes to advance the House's stopgap funding measure.
The White House also attempted to frame the shutdown as Democrats' fault. "Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border," President Trump tweeted early Saturday. "They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!" In a tweet published just moments later, the president claimed Democrats had brought on the shutdown as "a nice present" for the one year anniversary of his presidency.
Democrats, however, have placed the blame for Saturday's shutdown with both Republicans and the president's unwillingness to accept a bipartisan deal on DACA. "Every American knows the Republican Party controls the White House, the Senate, the House. It's their job to keep the government open," ABC News reported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said before noting Trump should take a significant portion of the blame. "There is no one — no one — who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in more than President Trump."
But while this government shutdown may have began like many of those that have come before it — with a failed vote — this one remains rather unique. The government shutdown of 2018 is the first shutdown in modern history to have happened while a single political party controlled both Congress and the White House.
It's also worth noting that Trump has previously appeared to welcome the idea of a government shutdown, despite the fact that most people generally view them as negative. "Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!" the president tweeted back in May as Congress passed a stopgap measure to fund the government through to September. Moreover, Trump often painted himself as an expert deal maker while on the campaign trail and yet he was unable to negotiate a deal to keep the government up and running.
Members of Congress returned to work on negotiating a budget Saturday morning, although there's no telling how long the government shutdown might last.