Shutdown, The Country Held Hostage

Dear Group,

From McMorris Rodgers’ website [the bold is mine]:

For bills to reach the president’s desk in a divided government, both parties must work together to responsibly govern. It’s time to make deals, and the deal to make here is to secure the border, keep Americans safe, and give certainty to DACA recipients. Unfortunately, Democrats signaled today they would rather waste time on bills the Senate won’t consider and the president won’t sign. When this partial shutdown started, I called on Democrats to negotiate in earnest to fund the government and secure our border. These are priorities of the American people and the responsibilities of Congress. Speaker Pelosi pledged today this Congress will be ‘bipartisan and unifying.’ Let’s do it.

We have a petulant child in the White House who is holding hostage more than a trillion (1000 billion) dollars of discretionary government spending (the part of federal government spending covered by the appropriations bills) necessary for the government to function. He is holding the government and the people of the U.S. hostage over his non-negotiable demand for 5.7 billion dollars (only a downpayment) to begin construction of his ill-conceived and ill-advised border wall, a wall that has become for him a symbol of his presidency. 

McMorris Rodgers calls Democrats to “negotiate.” She offers no call for her President, her “positive disruptor,” to negotiate. How do you negotiate over a non-negotiable demand, a demand so entrenched that she considers passing appropriations bills that do not include the 5.7 billion dollars a waste of time? There is a frustrating lack of logic here. Has she never heard of over-riding a presidential veto? 

If Trump holds to his word and vetoes any bill that concludes the shutdown without giving him his $5.7 billion eventually the pain of his hostage taking will grow, and Congress will take the heat from constituents. Congress’ only alternative will be a veto override. (That assumes McConnell can be forced to bring the individual House appropriations bills to the Senate floor and enough Senators defect from Trumpism to get the bills passed.)

You can feel their pain. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA, CD3) is one of two other Republicans in the Washington State delegation to the U.S. Congress (after CMR).. She is a protege of McMorris Rodgers. She held onto her seat last November with only a 52.7% majority. She voted Wednesday, January 8, along with seven other defecting House Republicans and all the Democrats for H.R. 264, an appropriations bill that would end part of the shutdown without border wall funding. Her press release expresses her discomfort with the effects of the shutdown. She writes, “Entering the third week of a federal government shutdown, it’s easy to see why Americans are disgusted with politicians.” Almost plaintively she adds, “While I will never call $5 billion a small amount of money, in the context of a $4.4 trillion federal budget it doesn’t seem like a deal-breaker.” (Notice she inflates the number she uses for the federal budget by including mandatory spending.)

I feel Herrera Beutler’s pain. Please, please make this stop! It’s killing us! And she’s right as far as she goes, including that $5 billion is not chump change. She does not mention she voted for the partial funding bill. Perhaps she would rather her Trumpian base did not know.

H.R. 264 passed 240-188. If McConnell is finally pressured to bring this bill up in the Senate and it passes the Senate (there are already Republican Senatorial defectors) and Trump vetoes it, the House only needs 45 more votes to override. It might look like a high bar right now, but after a few more weeks of shutdown more like Herrera Beutler will feel the squeeze. They will worry over their vulnerability at the ballot box in 2020 if they remain tied to Trump in his shutdown. 

You can bet the Trump devotees are calling their Senators and Representatives to encourage them to hold strong with their spoilt child in the White House. It is time for us to start telling our Representatives and Senators it is time to end this. This President thinks he has autocratic powers, and will, along with his Party, ruin the country if allowed to make good on his promise to extend the shutdown “for months.” The Republicans in Congress at some level have to know this shutdown must end before they lose all the voters outside of Trump’s fevered base. 

Call, email or write your Representative and Senators today and tell them how you feel. They need to hear from us that time is running out to act and we know they can override a veto (even if they pretend they’ve forgotten).


Spokane Office       (509) 353-2374

Colville Office         (509) 684-3481

Walla Walla Office  (509) 529-9358

D.C. Office              (202) 225-2006

Patty Murray (D-WA)

D.C. Office          (202) 224-2621

Spokane Office  (509) 624-9515

Yakima Office     (509) 453-7462

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

D.C. Office          (202) 224-3441

Spokane Office  (509) 353-2507

Richland Office  (509) 946-8106

Mike Crapo

D.C.  202-224-6142

North ID,  208–664-5490

James Risch

D.C. 202-224-2752

Coeur d’Alene  208-667-6130

Russ Fulcher (new R, ID)

(202) 225-6611 

Then call Call/Email Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and ask him to bring the House-passed bills to the Senate floor for a vote in order to end the shutdown! There is no veto to override if this ultimate partisan and Trump enabler cannot be convinced to bring bills to the Senate floor. Phone: (202) 224-2541.

Kept to the high ground,


P.S If you have five minutes Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), articulates this position on the Senate floor on January 10 better than I just did.

P.P.S. On Thursday, January 10, H.R. 265 and 267, two more partial funding bills passed the House with similar margins to H.R. 264. McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse (R-WA, CD-4) each voted first to send each bill back to committee “with instructions” and the voted against each bill. Herrera Beutler each time voted to send the bill back, but then turned around voted to pass the bill. How odd…