Robert Reich on the narrowly-avoided government shutdown: Republicans holding America hostage

Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown last night. Still, that doesn’t mean the problem has gone away. We have thoughts this morning from economist Robert Reich:

We averted a government shutdown, for now. But this kind of last-minute and temporary “Perils of Pauline” drama is itself harmful to America.

Millions of people didn’t know if they’d continue to get disaster relief, or clean water protections, or food safety inspections, or cancer research, or nutrition programs for children.

Federal workers such as air traffic controllers and those in the military would have been required to work without pay, even though most would have gotten back pay once the shutdown ended. Most low-wage federal contractors, on the other hand, would have been out of luck.

The blame falls squarely on MAGA extremists acting on Donald Trump’s orders – hard-right House Republicans who would have taken America hostage.

There was no reason for this close call. In May House Republican leaders agreed to a very specific deal to fund the government. Then, they reneged on it, proposing instead to cut housing subsidies for the poor just as soaring rents drive a national affordability crisis; taking nutritional assistance away from more than a million women and children; cutting home heating assistance just as we head into the winter months.

At least the Senate had the sense to come up with a bipartisan continuing resolution to keep the government open.

This shootout inside the Republican Party was all about showing Trump who was willing to fight the hardest, regardless of whether any of it made any sense, even for them. The rest of the country was almost caught in the crossfire.

And we’re still not out of the woods. The continuing resolution just kicks the can down the road.

My advice to the rest of America? Remember this as we head into election season, and vote accordingly.

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Story produced by John Goodwin. Editor: Chad Cardin. 

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