To the editor: Though the Republicans have control of Congress and the executive branch, they need 60 votes to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open. While the tax bill was passed without Democratic votes, now the Republicans need them. (“U.S. government shutdown leaves many confused about jobs, services at start of workweek,” Jan. 22)
To get these votes the White House made a deal, which it then effectively revoked. President Trump wants his border wall money (not from Mexico, but from U.S. taxpayers), and the Democrats want the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants not to be deported. Trump fears his base will cry amnesty for illegals if he signs a DACA bill.
The Democrats have no leverage if they consent to another continuing resolution without pressuring Trump to sign off on DACA. Trump wants the Democrats to vote for a continuing resolution before negotiating. Since promises have been broken in the past, the Democrats don’t trust Trump.
The president brags that he is a great deal-maker. The Iran nuclear deal, trade agreements, the Paris climate accord — all can be renegotiated and improved. But if Trump cannot broker a deal to keep our government open, how can we trust him to negotiate anything for us?
Norwood Price, Burbank
To the editor: I speak as only one of millions of veterans, elderly and disabled whose lives have become the playthings of politicians who place the welfare of those who have entered the United States illegally before those law-abiding citizens who have become dependent on the government through age, disability or service.
I believe all members of Congress should permanently forfeit their pay for every day they keep the nation hostage to their whims.
Congress’ primary function is to pass laws that keep the government running. If it fails, its members should not be paid.
Mark Kirkmeyer, Saucier, Miss.
To the editor: The Trump administration and congressional Republicans want their border wall, and Democrats appear willing to give in on this in exchange for dubious promises to protect Dreamers.
Democrats, please don’t make this deal. Fight for Dreamers and fight against the border wall. If you give in to Trump on his wall, what will the next concessions be? There is no meaningful voice of opposition to Trump among the Republicans in Congress, so this nation is counting on you, Democrats, to fight for what is right.
Trump’s border wall would be a dark stain on America’s moral character. There is a widespread perception that the Democrats lack strength in their convictions, a perception made more damaging by the fact that it is sometimes true. This is their moment to change that perception.
Chad Hanson, Big Bear City, Calif.
To the editor: It is inaccurate to claim the Republicans can pass the legislation because they control both houses of Congress and the presidency.
Republicans control the House, which voted overwhelmingly to keep the government open. In the Senate, however, Republicans have only 51 seats, while 60 votes are required. Democrats voted for the shutdown.
Combining both Senate and House votes, 186 Democrats in Congress voted to shut down the government, and only six voted to keep it open; 269 Republicans voted to keep the government open, and 15 voted against.
It is obvious the “Schumer Shutdown” is a Democratic scheme.
Jim Blumel, Santa Clarita
To the editor: It’s disturbing to see that the Republican administration and Republican Congress couldn’t come together to pass a funding bill to keep the country running. Equally upsetting is that the White House found time to create a little more government bureaucracy in the form of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Conscience and Religious Freedom.
In any other administration, something this Orwellian would be newsworthy, but it barely made a ripple.
Next the Ministry of Truth will be telling us it was the Democrats who are responsible for the shutdown.
Thomas Sexton, Huntington Beach