Believe it or not, another government shutdown may be upon us.
Facing an appropriations deadline on Thursday, Congress must pass a short-term continuing resolution to
fund the government through late March—or watch federal agencies close.
Lawmakers are simultaneously working on a comprehensive immigration
deal and finalizing a budget for the remainder of 2018.
has changed since January, when Democrats shut down the government,
prioritizing illegal immigrants over American citizens. When did it
become sound political strategy to choose the interests of foreigners
In January, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other
Senate Democrats shot down a Republican proposal to keep the government
open—while funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the
military — because it didn’t address the Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals (DACA) program. In other words, Senate Democrats shut down the
government to protect illegal immigrants — putting vulnerable American
children and military service members at risk.
Before Democrats eventually caved, the Schumer shutdown could have left more than two million military service members unpaid,
while sending 100,000 national guardsmen home. Nine million children
were at risk of temporarily losing their health insurance, resulting in
potentially life-threatening removal of treatment.
The fact that a
shutdown over illegal immigrants is even a possibility defies belief.
Over the years, both political parties have chosen the road of
obstruction to voice disagreement on policy issues and stymie reforms
they oppose on ideological grounds. But in recent months, Democrats have
redefined Beltway politicking and doubled down on un-Americanism to
undermine President Trump.
Criticizing the Tax Cuts and Jobs
Act—already boosting paychecks and spurring investment—is certainly
misguided, but not outside the political mainstream. The same goes for
President Trump’s infrastructure proposals or border security
agenda—Democratic opposition might be wrongheaded, but not outside the
realm of mainstream partisanship.
But to shut down the federal
government over illegal immigrant status is an unprecedented leftward
lurch. As a former congressional chief of staff and Republican
strategist for over 25 years, I’ve never seen such an apparently
un-American political maneuver.
sentiment has seemingly become a go-to political tactic for many
Democrats. At President Trump’s State of the Union, Democrats refused to stand and applaud when
he honored and grieved with the parents of a teenager killed by MS-13
gang members—many of whom come here as illegal immigrants. When
President Trump highlighted the lowest black unemployment rate in U.S. history, the Congressional Black Caucus sat in silence.
Since when is it political advantageous not to cheer for American successes?
Now the latest shutdown debate shines another light on Democrats’ waning patriotism. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently lamented the
lack of a DACA deal, claiming Congress must act to protect “the lives
of hundreds of thousands of people.” But what about American lives?
aside, why not just agree to fund the government and deal with illegal
immigrants later? Why shut down the government—and threaten American
citizens—over the legal status of non-citizens?
Americans are on President Trump’s side. More than 70 percent approve of
President Trump’s push to combat illegal immigration and implement a
merit-based immigration system. Most Americans support the crackdown on
MS-13 to keep our communities and our children safe. And a clear
majority of Americans believe in secured borders.
standing with them while Democrats sit on their hands. We can all
disagree on immigration policy, but there should be common agreement
between the parties on certain issues—say, honoring victims of gang
violence. There should be bipartisan consensus that funding the
government to support American citizens is more important than
protecting illegal immigrants.
So whose side will the Democrats take?
Short (@shortguy1) is a former congressional chief of staff, six-time
Republican National Convention delegate, and Republican strategist with
over 25 years of experience in politics.
and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do
not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.