Talks continue, but government shutdown looms

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

Democrats derided their Republican counterparts when they shut down the government during the Obama administration in 2013.

Now, it’s Democrats who are threatening to shut it down. The issues? Democrats say that in order to vote for a continuing resolution that would temporarily keep the government funded and running, they want Republicans to fund some of their priorities, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP; more aid to places like storm-tossed Puerto Rico; more money for the opioid crisis; and at the top of the list, a resolution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, dilemma.

Democrats say deals on DACA and CHIP shouldn’t be tied to the continuing resolution. Republicans say talks are already underway on both of those issues and more. They say they have until March to resolve the CHIP funding, and that there’s already a deal for DACA on the table.

All Democrats have to do is approve funding for a border wall, cut immigrant visas in half and put limits on family-based migration. It’s all politics, according to Republicans. And it’s true that Democrats see a political opportunity in the wake of the president’s alleged comments at a White House immigration meeting last week.

Their calculus is that voters will blame the president and Republicans for a shutdown. And recent polling suggests that’s true and that could have implications for midterm elections in November.

Late Friday afternoon, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer emerged from a one-on-one with the president and suggested that progress had been made, but he admitted that they still have a ways to go.

Barring an eleventh hour deal, there will be a shutdown on Friday.

So, what’s it all mean to you? If there is no deal and the government shuts down at midnight on Friday, all federal government offices will close, and most non-essential personnel will not be at work. National parks and landmarks will also be closed with some exceptions.

Best bet there? Call ahead. That will hurt a little if you’re planning a trip, but it’s really going to hurt when your Social Security checks or your pension checks are delayed. When that happens, voters start to look for someone to blame, and when they find someone to blame, it’s usually the party in charge that gets it.