Here we go again.
Courtesy of NYT:
Bipartisan talks to reach a border security agreement have stalled, lawmakers and aides said on Sunday, imperiling efforts to prevent another government shutdown days before the Friday deadline.
Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the Republican chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a key figure in the negotiations, confirmed the impasse on Sunday, saying that he was “not confident we’re going to get there.”
“I’ll say 50-50 we get a deal,” Mr. Shelby said, speaking on “Fox News Sunday.” “The specter of a shutdown is always out there.”
The 17 House and Senate lawmakers negotiating, known as a conference committee, had set an informal deadline of Monday to reach a deal, because Congress would need that much time to consider the legislation without waiving procedural rules and still pass it by Friday, when funding for several departments and agencies expires. But an aide familiar with the talks said lawmakers had stopped communicating.
The hang-up was not primarily the amount of funding for a border barrier, but a Democratic effort to force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to focus on detaining migrants with criminal records instead of people who have overstayed their visas by limiting the number of beds it has in detention centers.
President Trump, weighing in on Twitter, blamed Democratic leadership for the impasse.
I don’t think the Dems on the Border Committee are being allowed by their leaders to make a deal. They are offering very little money for the desperately needed Border Wall & now, out of the blue, want a cap on convicted violent felons to be held in detention!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2019
While Democrats refused to entertain the prospect of fulfilling Mr. Trump’s $5.7 billion demand for a border wall, lawmakers had grown closer to accepting a number between $1.3 billion and $2 billion for physical barriers.
Well, that certainly does not sound good for the country.
However, those most affected by a government shutdown are not prepared to sit back quietly and just take it.
Courtesy of the Intelligencer:
The last shutdown ended, in part, because workers revolted: After missing two paychecks, ten air traffic controllers called in sick, an absence significant enough to severely delay air traffic in New York City and Washington. Now, as another shutdown looms, workers are preparing for the worst. Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told New York on Friday afternoon that her union is working with labor partners to plan a series of demonstrations in major airports around the country on February 16.
Nelson, who called for a general strike in response to the last shutdown, offered manifold reasons for this new call to direct action. “Our union has worked really hard to address several safety issues in the workplace that have been longtime priorities, and we actually achieved 18 of those priorities in the FAA reauthorization bill that was signed into law this past October. But those items have not been implemented, because there’s been a shutdown,” she said. “So we can’t even get to our parochial issues because we’ve got this incredible threat to our fundamental safety and security and the entire industry’s ability to operate.” Nelson previously told New York on January 25 that her union intended to “mobilize immediately” if the shutdown continued; hours later, legislators reached a compromise that reopened government for three more weeks.
In anticipation of another shutdown, Nelson says that the union will be out leafleting in airports in 80 major cities next week ahead of Saturday’s demonstrations. “We are also working very hard to get information out to all of our members about what’s at stake. We need people to fully understand what the issues are so that we can be prepared to respond potentially with withholding our service, if that’s what it takes to stop a continuation of the shutdown,” she added.
The AFA isn’t working alone. Nelson cites the American Federation of Teachers as “a very strong ally” in addition to Unite Here, which represents many federal subcontractors who have still not received back pay for paychecks withheld during the shutdown. Reached by phone on Friday afternoon, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, told New York that AFT is “very concerned” about the shutdown’s impact on both the aviation industry and its unions. “We are working together to do what is impossible to do alone,” she said.
I would think with the possibility of a response like this that the Republicans would be quite hesitant to support Trump in any plan for a government shutdown.
But if they are too weak to stand up to him, then they must know that the blame will surely fall on them and the administration for any interrupted air travel or services withheld from the American people.