Lanterns: Quick Observation on the Government Shutdown Vote -- Update

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Quick Observation on the Government Shutdown Vote -- Update

Updating my article from Monday on the "government shutdown" vote. Original article below. 

As everyone now knows many of the Senate Democrats and a couple of Republicans have now reversed their previous votes agreeing to another short term Continuing Resolution thus funding the government until February 8th. On a personal note that could mean that I'll have to deal with the turmoil of a day one of another government shutdown on my birthday. 

I do have this fantasy that one day Congress will return to their mandate responsibility and actually move away from a 10 year trend and return to actual budgeting instead of relying on Continuing Resolutions or as Rand Paul tweeted:

"I'm introducing a bill to mandate that spending go through a normal appropriations process so we vote on spending individually. I call my bill the Government Shutdown Prevention Act and I'm introducing it this week in the Senate because Americans deserve real spending reform."

As a follow up I wanted to highlight that voted the same way both times thus highlighting the 3 Republicans and 28 Democrats who switched their votes ostensibly because of political expediency based on the negative reactions in the press and in the polls.

Republicans voting Nay on both cloture votes

  • Mike Lee (R-UT)
  • Rand Paul (R-KY)

Thus the three Republicans who switched were from nay to yea were Jeff Flake (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Mitch McConnell. Please note that as much as I don't care for Mitch McConnell's leadership his vote switch was for procedural reasons as the Senate Majority Leader. It should also be noted that John McCain (AZ) was unavailable for either vote.

Democrats voting Yea on both cloture votes

  • Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
    Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
    Doug Jones (D-AL)
    Joe Manchin (D-WV)
    Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

Democrats voting Nay on both cloture votes

  • Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
    Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
    Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
    Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Kamala Harris (D-CA)
    Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
    Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
    Ed Markey (D-MA)
    Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
    Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
    Chris Murphy (D-CT)
    Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
    Jon Tester (D-MT)
    Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
    Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Then there are these that switched their votes:

Democrats voting Nay on 1/19 then Yea on 1/22

  • Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
    Michael Bennet (D-CO)
    Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
    Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
    Ben Cardin (D-MD)
    Tom Carper (D-DE)
    Bob Casey (D-PA)
    Chris Coons (D-DE)
    Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
    Dick Durbin (D-IL)
    MaggieHassan (D-NH)
    Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
    Tim Kaine (D-VA)
    Angus King (I-ME)
    Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Patty Murray (D-WA)
    Bill Nelson (D-FL)
    Gary Peters (D-MI)
    Jack Reed (D-RI)
    Brian Schatz (D-HI)
    Chuck E. Schumer (D-NY)
    Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
    Tina Smith (D-MN)
    Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
    Tom Udall (D-NM)
    Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
    Mark Warner (D-VA)
    Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Original Article

 

As  of Sunday evening, the federal government has officially been "shutdown," due to Congress's inability to pass any type of budget or spending resolution. Translation: this means that approximately 20% (based on the 2013 "shutdown") of federal employees deemed non-essential, are on an unscheduled furlough until further notice. At least they will be on Monday morning since most were already due to be off over the weekend.

In an apparent effort to prove that all this is nothing but political theatre, any members of Congress that could find a microphone, a reporter, and/or access to their social media accounts spent the entire weekend doing nothing but deflecting blame to everyone but themselves.

To likely no one's surprise, the President of the United States had to join in the partisan bickering, tweeting: "Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If the stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long-term budget, no C.R.’s!"

 


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The majority of the voting was typically along party lines with 45 of the Republicans voting yea to proceed and 44 (including the two that label themselves as Independent) of the Democrats voting nay. However, I did find it interesting that 5 Senators of each party bucked the majority in their respective parties.

Democrats voting yea:

  • Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
  • Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
  • Doug Jones (D-AL)
  • Joe Manchin (D-WV)
  • Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

Republicans voting nay:

  • Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
  • Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Mike Lee (R-UT)
  • Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • Rand Paul  (R-KY)

Failed to vote:

  • John McCain

Vote information from Roll Call

All five of the Democrats have one major aspect in common, all are from states that have a heavy republican representation and in which Donald Trump's margin of victory in 2016 ranged from approximately 20 to 40 percentage points in each of those states. A cynical person (myself included) might think that their votes on cloture were tainted by the fact that all, but Doug Jones who recently and famously defeated Roy Moore in a special election in Alabama, face re-election votes later this year.

On the Republican side, there is no such corresponding facet that ties all the 5 Senators together and I'll leave it up to conjecture as to why they voted the way they did.

The bottom line to all this, is that the vast majority of the public, outside of the media and the Washington crowd, will suffer any long-term effects from the so-called government shutdown, however I do feel bad for those workers that will be inconvenienced in the short-term, from an unexpected lack of paycheck, due to the actions of a group of politicians who can't consider much outside of their next election.

Written by Mark Watkins

Conservatarian blogger living in the Upper Midwest. Strong believer in personal responsibility, smaller federal government and the Constitution in it's original meaning. Articles and thoughts can also be found at markEwatkins.com

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