The most responsible thing Democrats can do in the next week is to force Republican leadership to deal with the consequences of the last election. It’s on House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to deal with their shitty racist president and the nihilists in their own caucuses and avoid a shutdown. And that’s not going to be easy for them.
At this point, Ryan wants another short-term spending bill to the middle of February, one that just maintains the status quo and maybe funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He has two problems in getting that done. Republican defense hawks are balking until they have a deal for more Pentagon funding. Democrats are hardening in their refusal to help out until a Dream Act solution is found.
The resistance from both ends of the political spectrum is making GOP leaders anxious, senior Republican sources say. They have to land two major, controversial bipartisan agreements in the next seven days — one on spending, one on immigration — or face a potential shutdown that would underscore their dysfunction and threaten their already fragile majorities.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told members in a closed-door meeting Thursday that a deal with Democrats is close but at least a week away, forcing Congress into the fourth stopgap in four months.
That next bill is expected to continue federal operations for four weeks, but could stretch even longer—posing a major problem for the Pentagon, which can’t start new programs and could face training and maintenance hurdles if spending remains frozen at current levels. And defense hawks are now demanding proof of a deal to raise stiff budget caps before they agree to another punt.
There are 34 Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee and about the same number of Freedom Caucus members and a bunch of them will balk at another CR as well, because that’s just what they do. Ryan’s not going to be able to look to Democrats to bail him out. They held firm on the short-term December funding bill, none voting for it until it was clear that Republicans had enough votes on their own. Nothing has changed since then, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi promises, absent a deal with Democrats. “People say, ‘Oh, is there going to be another CR?'” she said. “But there’s no point in having another CR unless we have an agreement on DACA, on funding.”
That’s the line they need to hold. Hell, even the editorial page at the Washington Post says so, literally. Here’s the headline: “Democrats should shut down the government to protect innocent people.”