DC Shutdown: Wielding the “Nuclear Option”

DC Shutdown: Wielding The “Nuclear Option”
The government shutdown only lasted three days, but the temporary reprieve hasn’t addressed the core of the dispute, and Trump’s threat to employ the “nuclear option” still stands if a real deal isn’t reached.

Writing on Twitter over the weekend, the President said that — quote — "If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget" — end quote — signaling that he's in favor of changing the Senate rules to allow a 51-member Senate majority to pass legislation instead of the existing three-fifths majority of 60 that are needed in order to surmount stalemates such as this one.

The very threat of fundamentally altering the way that the Senate operates wasn't popular on either end of the aisle, but the President's brinksmanship appeared to be successful in compelling the Democrats to reach a short-term funding agreement, similar in a sense to how he believes his "big red button" boast on Twitter did the same in bringing Kim Jong-Un back to the table with South Korea. Nevertheless, the broader problem of the Democrats' dogmatic obstinacy to Trump's legislative agenda, especially concerning his contentious border security proposals, still remains and is expected to dominate the coming three weeks prior to the next funding vote scheduled for 8 February.

The opposition blames Trump for supposedly refusing to consider their proposals on the Obama-era "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals", or DACA, initiative that he previously claimed to sympathize with, while the President slammed the Democrats for apparently abusing these talks in an attempt to squeeze unrelated migration concessions from him. Some indications suggested that the public agreed with Trump's narrative of events that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was selfishly prioritizing the interests of illegal immigrants over those of actual citizens and their military, which might have played a role in the Democrats' willingness to temporarily fund the government.

The stage is now set for the ultimate showdown between Trump and the Democrats over the border wall and DACA, with neither side willing to compromise on these pivotal interrelated issues prior to the midterm elections later this year, though they also don't want to be blamed for defunding the government if this stalemate can't be overcome. Trump feels like this might become a yearly event unless the Republicans win a 60-member supermajority in the Senate after this year's midterms, which isn't certain, and that's why he's toying with the "nuclear option" even if it eventually ends up backfiring on him. 

Andrew speaks with Don DeBar, who hosts a syndicated daily radio newscast CPR News heard across the US, and Cory Dupont, an American independent researcher, and historian, with degrees in Theology and History.

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