1) Continuing Resolutions / CRs -
It has been a *long* time since the Legislative Branch passed a proper budget resolution, or appropriations bill. I *think* the last time one had been passed was May 2015, which was the first one after a long spell without them too. So, disagreements over spending amounts in general and spending priorities specifically, being held closely enough, have led to the government allocate money short term in what are called Continuing Resolutions. There have been several CRs in the last year, funding the government for months, weeks, or days at a time. While the debt ceiling is a separate thing, it is certainly tied up into disagreements over spending amounts, as some politicians are near completely opposed to raising both government funding and the debt ceiling. This inability to pass a proper budget also cost the government trillions of dollars a year, as government departments can not do any mid or long-term planning. Many Republicans and Democrats are grumbling about the federal government not having a properly designed and funded budget, and are sick of CRs.
2) Children's Health Insurance Program / CHIP -
This is a government program created in 1997 in response to the failure to pass comprehensive health care reform in 1993. This government health insurance program covers about 9 million low-income kids in the U.S. It has historically had wide bipartisan support. All sides continue to say they support it. However CHIP expired September 30, 2017. The same month the Senate introduced a bipartisan "clean" CHIP bill called KIDS act ("clean" meaning other legislative items or priorities were not attach to it that may hinder its passing) that would fund CHIP for another 5 years. The house did more than introduce a bill, the passed a bill called CHAMPION act, which would also cut billions for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a fund for chronic disease prevention. Since then states have been trying to cover the short-fall for CHIP, though that can't be continued indefinitely.
So, not funding this will upend the lives of vulnerable ill children from low-income children, and maybe more the upend them for the sickest amount them.
3) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals / DACA -
Immigration reform in general has been kicked down the road a long time. The DREAM act (very similar to DACA) was first introduced in the Senate on Aug 1, 2001 by Orrin Hatch (R.) & Dick Durbin (D.). (Similar legislation was introduced in the House on Apr 25, 2001). President Bush even did a 180 on immigration reform days before 9/11. 9/11 changed the focus to national security, and the DREAMERs had been waiting for a legislative fix, which came forward a number of times but never passed, ever since. Frustrated with the 11 years of congressional inaction on immigration President Obama signed an Executive Order called DACA on Jun 15, 2012. It allowed those who were younger than 31 that day, that were brought to the U.S. when they were younger than 16, and must have lived continuously in the U.S. since 2007, and not be criminals. It has been challenged in court a couple of times. It currently covers about 800,000 mostly youth. Both sides (excluding extremists) continue to say they support DACA, the Democrats would prefer a clean DACA bill, whereas the Republicans would prefer to tie it to other immigration reform. Then President Trump, Sep 5, 2017, had his Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce that DACA was being rescinded via executive order, effective Mar 5, 2018. After that date, if there is not a congressional legislative fix, former DACA recipients could be subject to deportation.
So, not fixing or extending this will upend the lives of people who have openly built lives here, all law-abiding, many buying homes or starting businesses, near all going to school or working, some having started their own families with American-born children. They could be forced to leave all of that.
So how did we go from both sides (except extreme ideologues) wanting CHIP and DACA to a shut down over these things? Well, besides Republicans wanting to use them as
The Republicans are in control of the House, the Senate, and the Executive Branch. (Some might argue SCOTUS and/or the judiciary too). But they want to blame democrats for the fact that they can't whip their party into line? And if the majority needs some minority votes (as is sometimes the case in the Senate), um, it is called governing and compromising. And then there is:
4) Trump -
Democrats, having heard some of Trump's(?) and Republicans' purported priorities in immigration reform (levelling/decreasing immigration, getting rid of the immigration lottery and chain migration in favour of merit-based immigration, Trump rescinding Temporary Protected Status or TPS for 3 countries including Haiti, a border wall/more border security, more immigration staff from law enforcement to judicial, purportedly keeping DACA)… Some of this was hashed out on Tue Jan 9th in in a televised public meeting at the White House between Democrats, Republicans, and Trump. People said their piece, Trump said that he was relying on them, and would sign what both sides came up with. So Trump seemed amendable.
Having heard that, Senators Dick Durbin (D.) and Lindsay Graham (R.) negotiated and came up with a compromise proposal, with both sides giving and taking, and the offered to present it to the President Thu Jan 11. Those that are immigration ideologues in the White House drummed up immigration hardliners from Congress to come to the meeting last minute, and Durbin and Graham were ambushed. This is the meeting where Trump said sh!thole countries, which I won't repeat the whole story, go to this thread for that. As said in that thread, it wasn't what he said, it is the intention behind the words, and what it indicates is shaping U.S. policy.
I've read that since then the bipartisan group wanting DACA have been soliciting a counter proposal from the White House to that Durbin and Graham had proposed that day. Because they have given their proposal, it is not up to them to keep shooting in the dark on what Trump or the White House want. Proposal, counter-proposal, (counter-counter-proposal, etc, if needed). Makes sense, right? Then each side knows where they stand, and where there is room for compromise. However, the White House has not answered this requests for a counter proposal. And the Republicans seem to be unwilling to negotiate on immigration reform without the incompetent directionless White House. Though if both sides want DACA, it should seem they could get a veto-proof majority in a well-enough designed compromise, right? *sigh* What a shitshow.
5) Military and non-military spending -
Minor contributing factor, but thought it worth mentioning. The Republicans seem to be willing to spend massively more amounts on the military (despite exclaiming about government spending frequently), but want to often cut non-military spending. The Democrats want the military spending increased to be matched to non-military spending increases. Whether to try to control spending in general, to control military spending, and/or to ensure that domestic programs that citizens depend on don't get cut to the bone to beef up the military.
6) Donor-bought politicians letting donors drive policy priorities.
- So, it has been 3.5-4.5 moths since CHIP had expired/DACA was rescinded. Purportedly both sides (except ideologues) want CHIP extended and funded, and DACA made into law. So what have the party in power, the Republicans been doing for the last 3.5-4.5 months? Working on an unnecessary, tax bill with tax cuts designed to make their donors richer. That is what their focus and priority has been, not the 9.8 million lives that will be upended if they don't address CHIP and DACA. CHIP and DACA have not been addressed by any urgency by the Republicans, compared to the urgency over their tax-cuts-for-their-donors bill. At least not until they were done the tax cuts and could fully focus on using CHIP and DACA as human leverage to try to shame the democrats into a modern Sophie's Choice situation.
Edited by sierraleone, 20 January 2018 - 08:49 AM.