“Shutdown” Schumer

T. Keith Gurnee


Having been a Democrat for most of my life, I can’t believe what the Democrats did to themselves last week. In orchestrating a deliberate shutdown of our federal government, Senate Minority Leader Chuck “Shutdown“ Schumer irrevocably harmed the Democratic agenda and, in turn, his own party.

Schumer not only shot himself in the foot, he shot himself in the head. That the majority of his party ran with him in lockstep like lemmings jumping off the cliff was mind-boggling.

Thankfully, he concluded that his unnecessary exercise of brinksmanship over DACA while leaving 9 million children without health insurance was felony stupid. Realizing that his actions were actually harming DACA and preventing the Senate from reaching agreement on a long-needed, coherent policy of immigration reform, he finally came to his senses and voted along with 32 fellow members of his party to reopen the government for barely three weeks. Yet the fact that 18 Democratic senators voted to keep the government closed shows there are many who remain flat tone deaf.

In this “Schumer shutdown”, Schumer simply whiffed the ball and it remains to be seen whether he will have another relapse in the next few weeks. By choosing confrontation over compromise, a “photo opportunity” over accomplishment, and chaos over leadership, he has become an embarrassment to his party and his country.

Perhaps it’s time that “Shutdown” Schumer step aside as Senate Minority Leader and let a more rational member of his party like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin take over that position. Who knows? Perhaps then, would it be too much to believe that we can resolve the immigration issue and allow peace to finally break out within our national governance?

Let’s see what the next three weeks can bring. Time will tell.

The Republicans have precious little time to deliver, but deliver they must. But I won’t be holding my breath that Schumer will be a reasonable contributor to the solution.

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2 Comments about ““Shutdown” Schumer”

  1. mazin says:

    Hi Keith,
    Since 1990 FOUR GOP shutdowns. You bias puts you in the partisan hack camp.

    The 1990 shutdown occurred over Columbus Day weekend, from Saturday, October 6 through Monday, October 8. The shutdown stemmed from the fact that a deficit reduction package negotiated by President George H. W. Bush contained tax increases, despite his campaign promise of “read my lips: no new taxes”, leading to a revolt led by then House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich that defeated the initial appropriations package. Because the shutdown occurred over a weekend, the effects of the shutdown were lessened, with the National Parks and the Smithsonian museums being the most visible closures. Around 2,800 workers were furloughed, with the government losing $2.57 million in lost revenue and back wages.

    The two shutdowns of 1995 and 1995–96 were the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget. The government shut down after Clinton vetoed the spending bill the Republican Party-controlled Congress sent him. Government workers were furloughed and non-essential services suspended during November 14–19, 1995, and from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996, for a total of 27 days. The major players were President Clinton and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

    The first of the two shutdowns caused the furlough of about 800,000 workers, while the second caused about 284,000 workers to be furloughed.

    The 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days, beginning on October 1, 2013. During the shutdown, approximately 800,000 federal employees were furloughed for 16 days with some employees (such as the Army Corps of Engineers) having their work week shortened by one day each week for four months, resulting in a 20% loss of income during that time. Another 1.3 million were required to report to work without known payment dates. The deadlock centered on the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014. The Republican-led House of Representatives, in part encouraged by conservative senators such as Ted Cruz and conservative groups such as Heritage Action, offered several continuing resolutions with language delaying or defunding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare”). The Democratic-led Senate passed several amended continuing resolutions for maintaining funding at then-current sequestration levels with no additional conditions. Political fights over this and other issues between the House on one side and President Barack Obama and the Senate on the other led to a budget impasse which threatened massive disruption. Late in the evening of October 16, 2013, Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, and the President signed it shortly after midnight on October 17, ending the government shutdown and suspending the debt limit until February 7, 2014.

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