Republican officials have a few weeks left in the legislative session for 2018, but some haven’t been showing up to vote after the lost their seats in the November midterm elections, the New York Times reported. While that might not cause a problem in some years, this is not one of them.
The government sits on a cliff of another budget crisis just days before the Christmas holiday. A budget must be passed by Dec. 21, but if Republicans aren’t even showing up to work. It’s unclear how it is going to pass even if the GOP does reach a deal.
The greatest fear for the past several weeks has been that President Donald Trump announced he would be “proud” to shut down the government to ensure he scores funding for the border wall. When campaigning in 2016, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. In the past weeks, the president has also indicated that the border wall is already being built, which would mean the funding was already allocated for it. Still, he’s holding the government hostage for $5 billion.
Now the plot thickens. Even if Republicans are able to negotiate a budget, they might not have enough people to pass it due to absences.
The Times called it “the revenge of the lame ducks,” where Republican members that lost are now punishing the country with their own lazy bitterness.
“The uncertainty does not end there,” The Times continued. “With funding for parts of the government like the Department of Homeland Security set to lapse at midnight on Friday, Mr. Trump and top Republicans appear to have no definite plan to keep the doors open. It is clear that as Democrats uniformly oppose the president’s demand for $5 billion for his border wall, any bill that includes that funding cannot pass the Senate, and might face defeat in the House, too.”
Trump is scheduled to go on vacation on the same day the government is scheduled to shut down. It’s entirely possible the Republican Congress and Senate could not fund the government and the president take off for vacation. It would leave more than 850,000 non-essential federal workers without a job to pay for holiday gifts for families and children.
“That’s me with my hands up in the air,” The Times quoted Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “There is no discernible plan — none that’s been disclosed.”