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Nancy Pelosi speaking truth to power at the White House on December 11, 2018.

Will Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation Back Another Government Shutdown?

As our country’s experiment with an all GOP government draws to a close after nearly two disastrous years, the big issue in Washington is whether or not Trump will shutdown the government over his wall with Mexico. During the campaign, Trump promised numerous times that Mexico would pay for the wall. However, Trump’s current position is that he will shutdown the government unless the U.S. taxpayers finance the wall.

In a bizarre Oval Office meeting last week with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Trump said he would be happy to shutdown the government and shoulder the blame for it. The former TV reality star said: “I will take the mantle. I’m not going to blame you for it. I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security. I actually like that in terms of an issue.” This was quite unusual since the GOP had tried to deflect the blame when they shutdown the government in 1995, 1996 and 2013.

The Republican leaders of Congress were bewildered and puzzled by Trump’s self destructive stand. Senator John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate, said: “That’s me with my hands up in the air. There is no discernible plan — none that’s been disclosed.”

Instead of funding the government over Trump’s veto, the Republicans responded to Trump’s shutdown threat by taking another vacation. When they return to “work” on December 19, they will have only have three legislative days to make a deal and fund the government.

Chuck Schumer blasted the feckless D.C. Republicans’ gross ineptitude: “They just have to have the guts to tell President Trump he’s off on the deep end here,” Schumer said of GOP leaders, “and all he is going to get with his temper tantrum is a shutdown. He will not get a wall.” Prominent political scientist Norm Ornstein said it best about the D.C. Republicans: “The closer it gets to him, the more he wants a distraction and the more he wants to gin up his base, but from the perspective of Republicans, doing a shutdown while they’re still running everything just makes them look like idiots.”

Meanwhile, Nebraska’s Congressional delegation is silent about Trump’s shutdown threat. Every one of them (but Bacon) has backed previous government shutdowns. (Bacon wasn’t a member of Congress in 2013 during the last shutdown but he votes with Trump 98% of the time.) All of them do support Trump’s ridiculous Mexican wall. Fischer, Sasse, Fortenberry and Smith even voted for a government shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security in 2015 when Isis threatened to attack the Mall of America in Minnesota.

The 2013 shutdown that was backed by Fischer, Sasse (as a candidate), Fortenberry and Smith cost the U.S. economy $24 billion and 120,000 jobs. A new shutdown has the potential to badly harm an already reeling economy. The stock market is having its worst year in a decade and Trump’s trade war has cost Nebraska farmers $1 billion. We can’t afford another self inflicted wound like a government shutdown.

It’s time for Nebraska members of Congress to show some courage for a change and tell Trump they won’t support another government shutdown. Their ongoing silence can only be construed as tacit support for a government shutdown over the wall. These cowardly members of Congress aren’t putting Nebraska first — they’re putting Trump first. It’s time to throw the rascals out in 2020 and replace these cowardly bums with genuine Nebraskans!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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