The federal government shutdown is affecting an increasing number of my small business and individual clients in ways we never expected or anticipated. All indications are that these problems will get worse before the situation gets better. I am scheduling calls this week to address contingency and emergency plans with those most affected. I don’t think people outside of the small business community realize how cash-strapped many people are and how dependent we are on programs like SNAP and federally-funded state programs.
How did we get here, what is ahead and what is the way out?
1) Last month President Trump did not realize (and may still not realize) that he does not have the public or political support needed to carry his political positions. Even though he backed off the ‘wall’ demand in his television address last Saturday, he still wants $5.7 Billion from Congress for a hastily revised steel slat proposal or else he won’t re-open government. The calm public response this week is that this is not how we approach the budgeting process for committing public funds.
2) The Senate doesn’t have the votes needed to pass a bill this Thursday on the President’s most recent ‘steel slats’ proposal even though the Senate holds a Republican majority. This may be a wake-up call for the President.
3) The House of Representatives will likely pass up to six bills this week to re-open government, boost southern border security and begin to address immigration reform.
4) Those bills passed by the House of Representatives may not be considered by the Senate according to Republican Party Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. If the Senate did consider the bills passed by the House, they would probably pass because some Republican Senators are ready to re-open government before addressing border security. There are signs in the news that the majority leader is beginning to cave to majority public pressure.
5) Now president Trump threatens that if he doesn’t get his way he will begin deporting all 11 million DACA people even though federal court ruled in November that he can’t do that. That is clearly illogical and illegal as well as impossible from a logistics perspective. Deportations on a large scale would be impossible even with government fully open, even more impossible during a shutdown.
6) It now looks like it will take some time before the White House staff convinces President Trump that Congress will eventually build a veto-proof majority to vote against him. That would effectively end his executive power on the issue. At that point, an agreement will be reached and government will re-open. This could be many weeks away.