It’s that time of year again – when Republicans shudder with fear over the specter of a partial government shutdown rather than demand that budget priorities reflect the essence of their campaign promises. Except this time they actually control all branches of government and have no excuses for being run over by the parked car that is the Democrat minority.
Rather than run scared of a 17 percent shutdown of non-essential federal employees, Republicans should actually use their power to address the systemic shutdown of our entire system of government as adopted by our founders. Aside from funding their president’s border priorities and defunding Planned Parenthood, congressional Republicans have a responsibility to address the judicial crisis in this country, as the courts steal Article I and Article II powers over sovereignty and declare an affirmative right to immigrate. Now the courts are protecting sanctuary cities under phony federalism grounds, even as they denude states of their legitimate powers over marriage, abortion, and election law.
The only way to fight back against judicial amnesty and judicial open borders is for Republicans to codify President Trump’s immigration order into the budget bill by defunding refugee resettlement and visas from the six countries named in his order for the remainder of the fiscal year. This will be Congress’ way of using Article I powers of the purse to demonstrate that the courts were out of line with their civil disobedience against immigration statutes. Madison always viewed the power of the purse being vested in the Congress as “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance.”
With control of both houses of Congress and a GOP president to use the bully pulpit, especially against the backdrop of the terror attacks in Europe, why are Republicans not even negotiating this provision in the budget? The exercise of the purse strings over immigration and refugee resettlement will also be a clear signal to the courts that, as Hamilton put it, they have neither force nor will over our political direction. They have no control over what gets funded and have no executive powers whatsoever.
That a slew of unelected lower court judges, offices created not by the Constitution but by Congress, can vitiate long-standing immigration laws, congressional and executive power over sovereignty, and 200 years of settled case law on due process and sovereignty of a nation is the greatest government shutdown of all.
Even though Trump has already caved on everything in this budget, if he is to ever keep his promise on border funding, he must fight at some point. Once the administration is being forced to the brink in order to demand border funding, either way, it will have to properly message a shutdown and then make some sort of reform to the filibuster to get the bill across. As such, why not start negotiations by loading up the bill with more items, such as the executive order and defunding Planned Parenthood?
What happened to the Art of the Deal? Asking more than what you think you will get and not looking desperate to cut a deal?
It’s also important to remember that this notion that most Americans care about a partial government shutdown and that those who do care will blame Republicans is the global warming of inside-baseball politics. Immediately following the shutdown in the fall of 2013, there was a gubernatorial election between Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, the state most affected by a shutdown.
What were the results?
In the state most affected by the government shutdown, voters were split down the middle over which party was to blame for the shutdown. And there is no way to determine how many actually cared about the shutdown and whether even those who “blamed” the GOP agreed with them on the underlying policy issue. Imagine the results in the rest of the country, where few people are even affected by the shutdown?
Indeed, what Americans really care about is the long-term systemic shutdown — the shutdown of our republic, in which we are no longer a nation governed by the consent of the people but by the consent of the elites who saddle us with social transformation without representation.
As Republicans cave on every last remaining item and the media celebrates dodging the bullet of a “government shutdown,” it’s time for patriots to demand we end the consummate government shutdown and re-open the system of government adopted in Philadelphia in 1787.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.