Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877


By Gordon Forgey

Another shutdown?


February 14, 2019

It is still up in the air.

The long awaited compromise to avoid another government shutdown is in the works. It is being cautiously called an agreement “in principle.” A tentative agreement may be a better description.

As of this writing, stalwarts on both sides are not enthusiastic, but more main stream members of both houses of Congress have made progress in crafting legislation to end the threat of a second shutdown as President Trump vowed.

The votes in both houses seem to be enough to bring the deal to the President. At this point, however, it is unclear what he will do. Over the last few days, he has said that he is not happy with the deal.

He could reject the compromise altogether. Because of the Friday deadline imposed on making a deal, this would initiate another shutdown.

Other options, based on the President’s authority, could involve accepting the deal and then unilaterally acting on his own.

The most discussed option is the declaration of a national emergency to free up the funds. This has been widely criticized for setting a dangerous precedent of bypassing the legislative bodies.

According to the CNN website these options include:

Accessing treasury forfeiture funds, diverting Pentagon counter narcotic funds, using counter terrorism funds from the Department of Defense and using construction funds from the Army Corps of Engineers. Depending on which would be used, a declaration of a national emergency could be required.

So, the prospects of another shutdown can be avoided in several ways. The most desirable, despite both parties being shorted on their wishes, would be accepting the deal from Congress. It would eliminate the fear and disruptions of another shutdown and give both parties some positive talking points.

The other options available to the President could in fact be taken even if he approves the agreement.

This means he would simply try to get the money for his wall from other sources.

If he chooses this route, it would simply show the futility of bipartisan efforts to solve problems. In the past, the President has indicated he approves of certain decisions and then rejects them out of hand.

The only way of avoiding this in the future is for the elected representatives and senators from both parties to develop such a united front that legislation is veto proof.

In this partisan world, that is not likely.


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