Congress

We’re Hours Away From a Possible Shutdown

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I don't believe we'll actually see a federal government shutdown tonight, but there is a remote possibility of that happening.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has already passed a continuing resolution that funds the government until May and left town for the holidays, but the resolution has not been passed by the Senate yet.

The hold-up is an extension of healthcare benefits for retired miners that House Republicans refused to pass this year. House Republican chose to pass yet another temporary extension of the program and, for their part, Senate Democrat at not pleased with the temporary extension, but they will probably back down before tonight's shutdown deadline.

The spending bill to keep the federal government operating beyond Friday's midnight deadline has been stuck in the Senate as Democrats facing re-election in 2018, including Manchin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, fight for a one-year extension for the miners' health benefits rather than the temporary fix.

McConnell said the temporary extension is the best lawmakers are going to get, especially since the House has already passed the spending bill and gone home for a three-week holiday.

Senator Joe Manchin has vowed to "win the fight" for benefits for retied miners when Congress returns to Washington, but I'm skeptical. I'm not skeptical that he and other Democrats will try, but Republicans will soon have even less reason to deal with them, not more.

If Congressional Republicans refused to pass an extension of benefits for miners this year, why would they next year? The name of the game next year will be taking away everyone's benefits, not extending them.

Even though the Pentagon blasted the decision to do so, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got his wish of funding the government until May of next year with this continuing resolution which itself is an extension of a continuing resolution passed back in September. The September resolution was an extension of the fiscal 2016 budget. The 2016 budget was an extension of the fiscal 2015 budget. And you get the point.

Congress has not passed a comprehensive budget in years and by funding the government until May with a temporary extension, it will be as if fiscal 2017 never existed. Fiscal 2018 will be the GOP's first opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and it probably isn't going to be pretty.

On the bright side, Republicans won't be able to destroy the country until at least May when the current resolution expires.

  • muselet

    I return to my favored epithet for Rs: Visigoths. I only wonder what they think they’re going to rape (as in wantonly destroy; get your minds out of the gutter!), pillage and plunder once they’ve sacked and looted the US.

    –alopecia

  • gescove

    But Trump and McConnell were going to finally end Obama’s War on Coal and bring the jobs back! I think they forgot to mention the part about screwing miners out of their health care and pension benefits.

  • Badgerite

    I’m sorry for these miners and for the people that felt “left behind” in the Rust Belt but in actual fact they have not even begun to experience how utterly “left behind” they will be given their choice this election. If the GOP pays no price for destroying the safety net that might have helped them, they will go ahead and destroy it. And the Trump Monster could not care less about these people. It’s a shame, but democracy requires that the voice of the people is not stifled and they have supported that disenfranchisement of the voters that would have prevented this. The modern day GOP resembles nothing so much as the ayatollahs in Iran. Their idea of democracy is which crazy ass, heartless bastard who doesn’t give a damn about you would you like to vote for this election. And this time they chose an unqualified and unfit one and it will have consequences for them. And not good ones.

  • ninjaf

    Go ahead. Sorry for those miners. A lot of them are going to die because of it. But they voted to elect these people. They are going to have to live with the consequences. Time for Democrats to stop saving them from themselves.

    • Scopedog

      Agreed. I do not want to sound like a cruel bastard, but at some point, they had to realize that these Republicans did not give two shits about them, and the Democrats were going out of their way to help them.

      But they chose their abusers. And sadly, my back of fucks is empty, and I have no more left to give.