Ending the Shutdown; Saving Faces

Another Fine Mess …

The White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate seem to be in a standoff … each pointing a political gun at the heads of both of the others; all three afraid to move. President Trump and Speaker Pelosi have taken seemingly irreconcilable opposing views on Border Security. [1]  Caught in the middle, Senate Majority Leader McConnell is doing a good impression of The Invisible Man. [2]  Meanwhile, 800,000 Federal Employees are without pay … with 420,000 of them being ordered to work anyway …, tens of millions of other Americans are being affected and endangered by a wide variety of side-effects of the shutdown, and the rate of increase of our National Debt is accelerating. [3]  

If the President gives up on his demand for funding for “The Wall”,coulter and limbaugh 100 the right-wing media will threaten to turn his core supporters against him. If the Speaker backs down on her refusal to fund “The Wall”, Congressional Democrats could lose support from a large portion of their own party … and Independents. If the Senate Majority Leader lets the House government funding bills come to a vote … and they pass …, the President will probably veto them. Senate Republicans fear losing the support of the “Trumpist wing” of their party. Is their no way to to reopen the Federal Government without someone seeming weak?

The Third Path

The Constitution may provide a face-saving work-around for all concerned. Article I, Section 7, Clause 2 of the Constitution states:

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

According to this clause, rather than signing or vetoing any “Wall-free” funding bills,  President Trump can simply refuse to sign them. He can spend the next two weeks accusing the Democrats of wanting open borders. In his mind and, more importantly, in the minds of his core supporters, he wins the standoff. When the bills become law without his signature, he can choose between bad-mouthing the Constitution or making a grand show of ending the shutdown … or both. [4]  

Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader McConnell can also claim a win for their constituents. Speaker Pelosi can emphasize that there’s no funding for a wall, but the House is engaged in bipartisan discussions regarding funding for 21st Century border security. Senate Majority Leader McConnell can talk about following “the will of the People”, Senate inter-party cooperation, and a coordinated effort with the House to solve the simultaneous real problems of National Security and Immigration Reform.

Everybody Wins!

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End Notes
  1. Anyone who doubts that the vast majority of the members of both the House and the Senate are concerned about border security and immigration is seriously misinformed … by media personalities more concerned with ratings than anything to do with the national security and public welfare. The real dispute is about the most effective ways to address the problems and use our tax dollars.
     
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  2. Perhaps Mitch McConnell hasn’t become invisible.turtleman 02 100 Maybe he’s just pulled back into his shell to hide or to protect himself from the conflict of ideologies.
     
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  3. I’ve been monitoring the U.S. National Debt on a daily basis since September 6, 2018 when I first discovered the U.S. Debt Clock on the Web. I’ve put my collected data in an Excel spreadsheet where I can easily graph it. Just after the shutdown began, the slope of the graph’s trend line became more shallow. About a week later, the slope did a dramatic up-sweep becoming steeper than it was before the shutdown. It costs more to keep the government closed than to keep it open.
     
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  4. Probably, his best move would be to brag about how he “forced” Congress to end the shutdown and continues to pressure them on border security. Few of his supporters are likely to notice the Constitutional blue smoke and mirrors.
     
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