Do Democrats want a shutdown?
The American people elected Congress to do a job. The job’s requirements are no surprise, as Article I of the United States Constitution spelled them out 230 years. Among these duties, Congress is charged with the power of the purse. Deciding how to exercise that power isn’t easy, but then, an old adage tells us “Politics ain’t bean-bag.” The process of laying out goals, discussing our differences, and reaching a solution is the essence of the political process in a republic based on democratic principles.
All of this brings us to the events of November 28, when House and Senate leaders were scheduled to meet with President Trump. That morning, the President tweeted:
“Meeting with ‘Chuck and Nancy’ today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”
He pointed out areas of disagreement between the two parties and the difficulty of reaching a compromise, but he did not reject a deal out of hand or suggest he would stop seeking one. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) then said they would not attend the scheduled meeting at the White House that afternoon.
A deal may be difficult to achieve, but it becomes much more difficult when one side refuses to meet with the other. Deep disagreements are not unusual in Washington, but coming to the table to deal prevents those disagreements from becoming irreconcilable differences in our republic of diverse people and beliefs.
The actions of Congresswoman Pelosi and Senator Schumer raise the question: do they want a shutdown? Their previous words indicate that the answer is yes. In March, according to Bloomberg News, Senator Schumer said that provisions to fund a border wall or defund Planned Parenthood would lead to a shutdown. He said it again in April, per CNN. According to The Hill, he made the same threat in August. Congresswoman Pelosi has made similar comments, such as threatening a shutdown in October if her demands on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) weren’t met. Just a day after Democrats pulled out of meeting the President, Senator Dick Durbin (D-NY), Chuck Schumer’s second-in-command, also said he would vote against keeping the government open unless his demands on DACA were met.
Calling off a meeting with President Trump by citing his above tweet, then, seems to be a convenient excuse for Democrats to do what they were planning to anyway. They want a government shutdown unless all of their demands are met. That’s no way to get things done for the American people.
Even House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on the House floor on November 30, “The American people are relying on us to come together and to agree on things they know are very important to them and their families and their communities and their country.” But doesn’t coming together require people to at least be in the same room?
I urge the Democrats to come to the table and talk in good faith with their Republican counterparts and the President about keeping the government open. Negotiations will be tough, but refusing to try is inexcusable.
The real Pocahontas
You may have heard the name Pocahontas thrown about quite a bit lately, perhaps more than at any point since the 1995 Disney animated film, but the real Pocahontas still seems a distant figure.
This is regrettable, because she was an admirable woman who was crucial to the history not only of Virginia but of colonial America. The story of her saving John Smith’s life may have been embellished, but her role in aiding the early colonists by bringing supplies to them in Jamestown’s difficult early days is undeniable. She later married a colonist, John Rolfe. Her esteemed place in American memory is indicated by the grand painting of her baptism that hangs in the United States Capitol Rotunda.
Calling someone “Pocahontas” may be an insult if he or she fraudulently claims to be Native American. The name itself, however, is an honorable one.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
-Submitted by Kevin Baird, Communications Director