Perspective: Holding America Hostage

Jan 23, 2019

This week, 800,000 federal workers will miss a second paycheck due to the shutdown of the federal government. On December 11, Mr. Trump declared that he would own the shutdown of the government if Congress did not approve over five billion dollars to fund the construction of a border wall.

Since then, congressional Democrats, some Republicans, and the president have been at loggerheads, and the Democrats refuse to budge, arguing that acquiescing to Mr. Trump during a governmental shutdown will set a dangerous precedent. And while nearly 800,000 federal employees struggle making ends meet and the economy begins to show cracks under the pressure, the blame game ensues.

But I don’t really blame Mr. Trump, Speaker Pelosi, nor Mr. Schumer for the historic 5-week shutdown. I lay this at the feet of Senate leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell is on record refusing to put bills to a vote unless it is clear that the president will sign them. You may remember McConnell as the man who refused to hold hearings for nearly a year for a new Supreme Court justice during the Obama administration.

Regardless of which position you support what McConnell is doing amounts to legislative malpractice. It is not the job of any congress to carry water for the president but to provide oversight, and if the president doesn’t like what Congress puts forward he can veto and hope it’s not overturned. That is what is supposed to happen, but once again, power and ego breeds federal dysfunction.

So if you are angry about the latest circus coming from Washington, look up a picture of Mitch McConnell.

I am Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective.