By The Signal Editorial Board
Who “owns” the record-setting federal government shutdown? That’s a fair question and it’s entirely debatable.
It seems the blame could be apportioned in some varying percentages to President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the remainder of the Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
But who “owns” the missed paychecks for 800,000 federal employees?
That’s on the House Democrats.
One hundred percent.
You’d never know it from the mainstream national media, but the House has now voted twice on bills that would have paid federal employees during the shutdown.
“It is disingenuous to express outrage over the approximately 800,000 workers missing paychecks, but then continue to vote in favor of withholding their pay. That is precisely what the majority of Democrats are doing,” Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, told The Daily Signal, an online publication supported by The Heritage Foundation.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted after both votes and wondered out loud why there hasn’t been much media attention on them:
Monday: “Big deal that never got reported: Last week, House GOP voted to pay federal employees their 1st paycheck of 2019, despite shutdown. Only 6 Dems voted with us. It failed…”
Wednesday: “Update: House GOP voted again to pay federal employees. This time just ten Democrats joined us… Actions speak louder than words.”
Both times, every House Republican voted in favor of it. And both times, it was defeated by House Democrats.
Our own Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, voted “no.” It makes her lamentations about the plight of federal employees in the 25th Congressional District ring kind of hollow.
These votes show that the rhetoric from Hill and other Democrats about the hardships being endured by federal employees is just that. Empty words, designed to evoke sympathy for federal workers while painting Trump as the bad guy.
As we’ve said previously, this dispute isn’t about what’s right for America, or even taking care of federal employees now facing a second missed paycheck.
It’s about political victory.
You see, the Democrats can’t use the federal workers’ hardship as a public relations hammer against Trump if those workers are actually getting paid. The employees are now Pelosi’s pawns.
Even as the Democrats were rejecting Trump’s offer for a compromise before they even knew what was in it — and even if you think that offer didn’t go far enough — the fact remains that all the powers in Washington, D.C., could continue paying federal employees, if they wanted to.
The Democrats don’t want to, because winning, to them, is more important.
Trump, for his part, has backed off from his original demand for a concrete border wall, reduced the length of the wall(s) to be built, offered a three-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, offered to allocate $800 million in humanitarian aid and $805 million for drug detection technology — all in an attempt to reach a compromise agreement.
But Pelosi and company won’t budge. It’s time for our newly elected congresswoman to separate herself from Pelosi and the Democratic bosses and represent the 25th district and its federal employees with more than just words of support.
And, it’s time for the Democrats to negotiate in good faith, pay the workers, take real steps to find a middle ground and reopen the