Earlier this week, courtesy of Trump’s latest flip-flop on the border wall, it looked as though a path had been cleared for a bi-partisan funding bill to be passed that would avert a government shutdown starting Friday night.
That said, it seems that Democrats may actually be eager to force a government shutdown after all. As budget director Mick Mulvaney explained to CNN last night, after giving in on border wall funding, something Dems defined as a critical issue to avert a shutdown, Democrats have apparently gone radio silent.
Tapper: “And there will be an agreement, you think?”
Mulvaney: “I hope so. Here’s what concerns me. We informed the democrats yesterday that we were not going to insist, for now, on bricks and mortar [for the border wall]. We’re going to move that discussion to September of this year for fiscal year 18. And we thought that was going to get a deal done. And we’ve not heard anything from them today. So, now i’m not so sure what is happening. I’d be curious to ask the democrats where they stand on a shutdown right now because we thought we had a deal as of yesterday.”
As Reuters points out, now that funding for the border wall is off the table, democrats are suddenly far more interested in securing funding for healthcare subsidies and Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program.
The most powerful Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said on Tuesday his party is concerned about the ratio of increase in defense and non-defense spending. Democrats prefer a one-to-one ratio, and boosting both sides of the budget equally could become a sticking point in negotiations.
Democrats also want provisions for more healthcare coverage for coal miners and appropriations for healthcare subsidies. Health insurance would abruptly become unaffordable for 6 million Americans who rely on cost-sharing subsidies under the national health plan commonly called Obamacare.
Democrats have been seeking immediate assistance for a funding gap in Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, federal health insurance for the poor, saying it is in such bad shape that 1 million people are set to lose healthcare.
But, as Mulvaney noted above, Trump has vowed to cut off Obamacare subsidies, at least until this next flip, and Democrats seemingly raised the Puerto Rico issue out of no where.
Mulvaney also said Trump would not agree to including Obamacare subsidies in a spending bill.
He told CNN that Democrats “raised Puerto Rico for the first time a couple of days ago,” but did not give Trump’s stance on the Medicaid assistance.
Of course, it’s only logical that Democrats would secretly want a government shut down. In the end, Republicans (i.e. the fiscally conservative party that is generally looking to reduce entitlements rather than increase them) typically tend to take the brunt of the public backlash for government shutdowns and all of the media coverage provides a very effective bully pulpit for liberals. Well played, Chuck and Nancy.