Why Trump’s Government Shutdown is a Blessing in Disguise

If Trump is good at one thing, it’s exposing the flaws in the American Government for all to see. He does it with a fearless arrogance that, while unsettling, should also be considered a powerful opportunity. The best time to change something is when the consequences of it are in full effect. For the government shutdown, that time is now.

The problem with the shutdown is that it is even possible for it to occur. It’s been used as a weapon by both parties many times since 1976, when the current budget and appropriations process was enacted. The only way to prevent this abuse is to take away the option, or at least curtail it somehow.

Somehow indeed.

Luckily, it’s not impossible, nor is it the first time this idea has come into play when a shutdown occurred. Political figures like Derek Kilmer, representative for Washington’s 6th District in the U.S. Congress, agree that partisan politics, while appreciated to a certain degree, cause serious problems when it holds back actions we all know to be crucial.

“It’s one thing to have disagreements. It’s another when Congress refuses to move forward on issues Democrats and Republicans agree on.” Says Kilmer. “Leaders should establish expedited procedures that allow bills with broad, bipartisan support the opportunity for an up or down vote in the House. That way, party leaders or narrow factions can’t bottle them up by using parliamentary tactics or just plain refusing to bring broadly supported legislation up for a vote.” [1]

I know what you’re thinking; we still have one major problem even if legislators could get these procedures in place: the President. Fortunately, thanks to the separations of powers granted by the Constitution, if the President vetoes the bill it would go back to Congress, where the veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses. In fact these ideal procedures Kilmer suggests might make such actions redundant as the expedited process would already guarantee the bill’s success. Sending it for a veto would just be a waste of time since it would be approved once it came back. At least then, however, the blame for preventing government funding would rest squarely on the executive’s shoulders.

This would not only be a win for government workers, but a win for the legislative branch as well. The executive branch, both democrat and republican alike, has been flexing it’s ability to override much of congress’ power increasingly over the past decade. And, with his recent threats to begin abusing his ability to use national emergencies (exaggerated or otherwise) to get things done, Trump is taking executive power to even greater heights. Congress’ ability to pass important bills quickly would be equally powerful and could make up for their recent losses in their ability to check the president.

But, if the legislators had this power now, would it prevent Trump from abusing his emergency powers? Probably not. It would, however, help by not allowing him to make such abuses look like a last-ditch effort while placing the blame on Congress. This only helps to shed light on the importance of making these bi-partisan ideas a reality.

The question is, would both parties be willing to give up their ability to use shutdowns as bargaining chips? They’ve both taken turns using it and then fighting it later. Surely they are both getting sick of it. I know America certainly is.

So write your congress reps today and ask them to set aside their differences for a moment and work as a team. Ask them to create procedures for bills that we all know are important to everyone. Now is the best time to do it!

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Photos by StockSnap and Brian Call

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