Republicans are again playing political games with government funding and attempting to force Democrats to make do with the budget left over from Donald Trump's presidency.
A bipartisan agreement on funding won't happen this year, and the GOP congressional minority is demanding that Democrats agree up front to spend nearly $2 billion to continue building a border wall and more than 30 other sticking points before they even consider negotiations, reported Politico.
"The GOP has adopted a 'heads I win, tails you lose' attitude with another shutdown deadline in less than three weeks," the website reported. "If Democrats don't buckle to a slew of conservative demands before spending negotiations even begin, Republicans won't engage in dealmaking at all, GOP leaders say. The minority party has demanded that Democrats agree up-front to status-quo spending constraints, like the longtime ban on using federal funding for abortion."
Republicans also insist on federal funding for abstinence-only sexual education programs, and if they don't get their way, GOP leaders are perfectly willing to push current spending levels through the remaining 10 months of the budget year through a continuing resolution -- and they're blaming Democrats for the uncertainty.
"I don't get the sense — when it comes to keeping the trains running on time — they are particularly adept at that," said Senate minority whip John Thune. "It's just sort of management by chaos. There's no real rhyme or reason to it. They keep putting out deadlines which end up not being met."
Government funding bills need 60 votes in the Senate, and Republicans see political gain in a lengthy standoff, which would allow them to position themselves as deficit hawks after Trump's presidency sent the national debut surging by more than $7 trillion.
"It's a shameless approach that they've taken," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). "There are a number of Republicans who believe that it's important to fund the priorities of the federal government, including the defense priorities, but I know there's an ongoing discussion in their caucus."