Texas Senator Ted Cruz told reporters on Monday that while he was optimistic about Congress being able to pass a spending bill before the April 28 deadline, he was worried that Democrats were more interested in making a scene than they were in keeping the federal government running smoothly.
“You know, I very much hope we don’t have a shutdown,” Cruz said. “I will say I’m concerned. I think Chuck Schumer and the Democrats want a shutdown.”
Cruz is quite familiar with what an impending shutdown might look like; in 2013, he played a big part in a 16-day shutdown in response to the GOP’s failed attempt to defund Obamacare. Now Cruz suspects that Democrats could be under pressure from their liberal base to oppose anything and everything that comes out of the ruling party.
“You know, one of the dynamics we’ve got is the Democratic radical left is demanding of Senate Democrats that they oppose everything, that they engage in across-the-board obstruction,” Cruz said. “And so I do have some concern that to appease the radical left, Chuck Schumer and the Democrats may do everything they can to try to provoke a shutdown.”
Democrats are certainly in the mood for a fight, but their collective energy is geared towards stopping the man at the top and anything that smells of his agenda. We agree with Cruz about the prospect of a shutdown, but those prospects will grow or shrink based on what the spending bill looks like. If it’s relatively consistent with basic, moderate conservatism, they could find their way to an affirmative vote. On the other hand, if it contains, for example, funding for Trump’s border wall, we’re going to see a knock-down, drag-out battle royale.
We have a feeling that there aren’t enough Republicans in Congress gung-ho about the Wall to risk a shutdown over it, so that’s unlikely to be the problem. But if Schumer is really determined to oppose any aspect of the Trump agenda, no matter how slight, then Republicans will have to decide where their loyalties lie.
In the Senate GOP leadership, everyone seems to be quite confident about passing the spending bill without a shutdown. Either that’s false bravado, wishful thinking, or Mitch McConnell and crew have already decided they’re not going to go to the mattresses for the Trump agenda.
For the millions who voted for that agenda, a shutdown could be preferable to surrender.