To say that American politicians are skilled at stalling one another would be the understatement of the century…if not longer. Public servants in the US have honed this skill in ways that would be rather impressive had they not been used to completely ruin our system of government over the last several hundred years.
Now, in a stunning bit of partisan opportunism, the GOP in the Senate appears to be considering a total shutdown of the federal government in a move meant to protest Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.
Funding for much of the federal government runs out at midnight on Friday — and conservative Senate Republicans, backed by their counterparts in the House, are “privately plotting to force a government shutdown” as part of “an effort to defund the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on the private sector,” Politico‘s Playbook reports, citing multiple GOP sources. Democrats are scrambling to get agreement from enough Republicans to fund the government at roughly current levels through early 2022.
“Because of the tight schedule — and Senate rules that require unanimous consent to move quickly — the senators believe they’ll be able to drag out the process well past midnight Friday,” Politico reports. If they succeed, “the government will likely shut down for several days — even if appropriators strike a bipartisan agreement to extend funding by the end of today.”
But the idea faced heavy congressional opposition.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that “we won’t shut down” and “nobody should be concerned about a government shutdown,” but it would only take one Republican, theoretically, to slow things up enough to trigger a shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) certainly didn’t appear convinced — he argued Tuesday that “if Republicans choose obstruction, there will be a shutdown entirely because of their own dysfunction.”