Government shutdown vote shows that Democrats are spineless

 Library of Congress posts a sign letting people know its' closed due to the shut down of the government on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at the Capitol in Washington. The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Library of Congress posts a sign letting people know its' closed due to the shut down of the government on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at the Capitol in Washington. The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

So the government got funded yesterday. After almost three days (hour wise) of being shutdown, the United States Senate laid down the foundation for re-opening the government, but the House of Representatives still has to hold the vote, though it is expected that they will pass the decision with zero problems. According to reporting by the Washington Post, the new bill will keep the government funded until Feb. 8 and will fund the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP) for the next six years.

Senators voted 81-18 for the bill, with just under third of all Democrats in the governing body voting against the bill. No decision was made on the negotiating of citizenship for those currently here as a part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The decision came after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that a deal had been reached, but with the promise of debate and a vote on DACA from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell, to his credit, did say that Republicans were willing to discuss any immigration bill as long as the government was open.

This move by Democrats is frankly unacceptable.

Let’s look at all of the facts here. The average senate bill needs 51 votes to pass. In most cases, the Senate can pass a bill without coming to Democrats because of Vice President Pence’s vote. But for something like the government funding bill for the year, the Senate needs 60 percent of the body to agree, a.k.a. 60 votes. So Republicans were forced to actually approach Democrats. Democrats were finally in a position to get two things they have been talking about for a long time CHIP and DACA. CHIP has been without funding for over a hundred days. Some 800,000 DACA recipients have been anxiously waiting and protesting after any chance of a future was ripped from them back in October by President Trump.

The Democrats had the Republicans exactly where they wanted them. And they somehow managed to fail. Yes they funded CHIP and that should be seen as a victory. But CHIP was never an actual controversial issues. The Republicans were always going to end up funding CHIP no matter what their stance on healthcare is. A large portion of CHIP recipients are within Republican controlled states. If they wanted to survive the 2018 midterms, they would have to fund it.

DACA and immigration as a whole are the real issues. And Democrats were in the perfect place to actually get a clean Dream Act passed. The Republicans needed Democratic votes to get something done. They control Congress and the Presidency. If the Republicans couldn’t do the bare minimum and give the Democrats what they wanted, the government would remain shut down and as the party in charge, they would take all the blame. If the Republicans didn’t cave, then holding out would have still been a win for the Democrats. Clearly nobody in a Democratic leadership position in the Senate actually knows anything about strategy.

Do the Democrats actually expect the Republicans to stay true to their word? After this, the Republicans don’t need really the Democrats. The government is only funded until the beginning of February but that shouldn’t even phase Republicans. The Democrats have already shown that they are spineless and will probably cave if it comes down to it. There is no way to predict the future. There is no way to know if the Republicans will actually contribute to a real DACA vote. Even if they will, why would you run that chance right now? It’s actually idiotic and completely insane.

The Democrats have shown that they don’t actually care about their base. They have shown the 800,000 young Americans on DACA that they don’t care about them and only view them as a talking point. The midterms are coming for the Republicans. If establishment Democrats don’t grow a spine, then it might come for them too.


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.