Regardless the outcome of the government shutdown – this weekend will mark the longest in history – the Trump administration has tried for “a painless as possible” approach, reports Kimberley Strassel in the WSJ.
That was the order from President Trump when the government closed, and the Office of Management and Budget was ready. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has spent months as OMB director gearing up for a stoppage. Acting Director Russ Vought was all in. And OMB General Counsel Mark Paoletta and his small legal team (those not furloughed) (have) spent every day since putting out fires.
During the 2013, 16-day shutdown, in contrast, Obama tried to maximize the difficulty. Here’s how the Obama White House used the shutdown “to punish Republicans for withholding funds, and in the process penalized the nation.”
- furloughed workers and cut pay for private contractors
- shuttered Head Start
- suspended money for health care in the District of Columbia
- sealed national parks, including war memorials on the National Mall
No Quick or Legal Fixes for Painful Effects
Friday, there will be 800,000 missed paychecks for federal workers and no additional payments for food stamps or for the Coast Guard.
The pressure on Mr. Trump will only rise from here, and some Republicans are already nervous. Prepare for a lot more talk about national-emergency declarations.
But no matter the immediate outcome, the administration’s “painless as possible” approach has shifted the appropriations landscape. House Democrats will have to confront a new set of political calculations in budget negotiations during the Trump presidency. And future administration will have a harder time justifying ugly shutdowns, in light of this example. Yet another way the Trump administration has changed Washington.
Read more from Ms. Strassel here.
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