STATEMENT: CAP Action’s Jennifer Palmieri: By Rejecting Bipartisan Deals, Trump is Doing Everything He Can to Force a Government Shutdown

Washington, D.C. — Jennifer Palmieri, president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, released the following statement today on the current state of play on negotiations to keep the government open:

President Donald Trump is doing everything he can to force a government shutdown. He has rejected bipartisan deals and continually broken his promises, including the one he made to the American people last week. He’s changed his position so many times that even congressional Republicans are unsure what he is asking for. It’s clear that instead of addressing the issues facing the American people, he’d rather rally his political base by pushing the country further into chaos.

There is a bipartisan deal that addresses urgent priorities around funding CHIP; protecting Dreamers; providing sufficient resources equally for our military and for important domestic priorities like fighting the opioid crisis, supporting our veterans, and investing in early education; and necessary funding to assist communities who have been devastated by natural disasters. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have come together in good faith to find solutions. But Trump and his cronies in Congress refuse to recognize these solutions and seem intent on pushing failed partisan ideas that they know will never pass.

Given everything we’ve seen over the past year, this is a sadly apt way for Trump’s chaos presidency to mark its first year: a government shutdown precipitated by the president breaking his word and refusing to accept a bipartisan deal that would help millions of Americans. To be clear—there is no reason we should end up in a Trump shutdown, and to avoid it, Republican leaders in the House and Senate need to stop enabling Trump and move forward with the bipartisan solutions that Congress has reached.  If they do not, this shutdown will be as much their doing as Trump’s.

Elected officials from the majority, along with conservative and nonpartisan political strategists, have acknowledged that President Trump and the Congressional majority—as they control the White House and both houses of Congress—would own any government shutdown, should one occur.

  • Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC): “The perception of most Republicans is that a shutdown does not accrue to Republican benefit. It’s a relatively tough sale. It makes it that much harder for Democrats to acquiesce on a deal because they feel like they have the upper hand.”
  • Whit Ayres, Republican pollster: When the federal government shutdown for 17 days in 2013, Ayres observed, “the Republican Party’s favorable rating dropped 10 points in a matter of days, and it took a year to fully recover. It would take an act of extraordinary political agility to avoid a similar fate today.”
  • Doug Heye, former senior congressional aide and Republican National Committee spokesman:“If there is a shutdown, GOP will—and should—get blame.”
  • Charlie Cook, political analyst: “Make no mistake about it, when a party holds the White House and majorities in both the House and Senate, they ‘own’ any government shutdown. Things the President has said and done over the last week have only increased the price the GOP has to pay for that ownership.”
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “To believe that you can successfully blame Democrats for a shutdown over the DACA debate is naïve.”
  • Joe Scarborough, MSNBC host and former Republican congressman: “Republicans own Washington, D.C. You should not give them a single vote in keeping the government running. That’s their job. This is their government, this is their Congress, this is their presidency.”
  • Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA):”When there are shutdowns, our side usually takes the hit. It will be difficult for us to deflect the blame—whether we deserve it or not.”
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX): Not finding a solution to fix DACA, McCaul said, “would not play well for Republicans.”

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at apreiss1@americanprogressaction.org or 202.478.6331.