Politico reporter Jake Sherman had a dire warning speaking to MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Wednesday night: the United States is probably about to have a prolonged government shutdown.
President Donald Trump vetoed the defense funding bill after telling Congress that he also refused to approve the COVID-19 stimulus and omnibus spending bill that was merged into one piece of legislation. While Trump's team negotiated the package, suddenly, the president indicated he didn't like it.
The dates in the threat are important to understand. Congress passed the COVID relief bill and the budget on Monday, and it is officially set to arrive at the White House on Thursday, Dec. 24. If Trump vetoes the bill, then Congress can either hold an override vote or tweak the bill for what Trump has asked for and pass it again.
If Trump refuses to sign it and ignores it, it will turn into what's called a "pocket veto," where it isn't approved simply by the president's inaction. The date that the pocket veto would happen, according to the Constitution, is ten days, not counting Sundays. That ten days is up Jan. 4, 2021. Congress officially ends the session on Jan. 3. Anything not passed in this session of Congress doesn't become law and goes back to the drawing board.
"I hate to be you dark here, I just don't think it's out of the, you know, realm of possibility that I think we might be entering a prolonged government shutdown," Sherman explained. "I maybe am being alarmist, but I have covered this now for more than a decade, I have been through a lot of live crises with this president and previous presidents and previous congresses. I just don't know how -- the only way out is for the president to sign this package. Period. And he doesn't appear to be heading in that direction right now, and I don't know what will change his mind because what is really bothering him is that the Republicans on Capitol Hill are no longer willing to say he is president and are now willing to say Joe Biden's president. That's not going to change."
After Trump announced that he wanted larger payments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called his bluff and said that she and the Democratic Caucus fully agreed and that they would hold a vote to increase the sum to his desired amount immediately. As Sherman noted, that means the bill drops into the lap of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). So, Republicans in the Senate will be forced to say whether or not they want to be stingy to Americans before Christmas, ushering in a government shutdown, and refusing to pay military servicemembers, all while Georgia voters are casting ballots in two senate runoffs.
See Sherman's comments below:
Trump is ushering in a government shutdown again www.youtube.com