The threat of another government shutdown has been, according to the latest reports out of Washington, much reduced over the past few days as the leaders of the Senate, if not of the executive branch, realize that the last one was a really bad idea.
One can only hope.
And Utahns can only hope that those who represent us in Congress will put the avoidance of another such global embarrassment ahead of all other concerns.
Most Americans, quite sensibly, were against the last expression of presidential pique. We knew, whether we thought our southern border is plenty secure already or needs a lot of work, that shutting down broad swaths of government services and making many employees with direct responsibilities for national security services work for a month without pay did more harm than good.
The true statesmen among us know that avoiding a repeat of that disaster is necessary to regain some level of the institutional integrity so that both Americans and all the other nations of the world will have some trust that our government is, at least, functional. A government that is falling apart at the seams is a much greater threat to our collective security than any caravan of refugees or cadre of coyotes.
The pathetic reality is $5 billion for border wall — the thing that the president said he had to have to sign a spending bill — does not materially change the flow of illegal immigrants, narcotics, human trafficking or any other intended target. The unbending demand to fund such a stunt was strictly to line the pockets of right-wing entertainers who make a living spreading fear and paranoia, who also happen to be the “base” supporters of this nonsensical proposition.
The last shutdown ended with a whimper, not a wall, as the president and his small core of congressional support apparently began to grasp the damage their intransigence was doing, to them politically and to the nation in every way.
But the deal made that day to open the doors and turn on the lights runs out Friday. The possibility of it all happening again never seemed to go away.
It didn’t help that key players such as Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee nonsensically bought into the idea that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is such an existential threat to America’s safety that shutting down the government was a weapon worth wielding.
Cross-border traffic is down. Illegal immigration is down. The vast majority of illegal drugs, trafficked people and all the other bad stuff we are rightly worried about and on the lookout for come in through regular ports of entry or via land or air.
All members of Congress should now realize that shutting down the government does no favors for their constituents, our security or the faith we should be able to have the the government that acts with our money and in our name.