Florida pols point fingers on federal shutdown


A partial federal government shutdown went into effect at midnight, after Congressional leaders failed to pass a budget that ahd the support of President Donald Trump.

Florida political leaders offered a variety of explanations what led the nation here.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida’s only Republican senator until Sen.-elect Rick Scott gets sworn in next month, put the onus on Democrats in comments before the shutdown took effect:

“Some facts about House bill before Senate,” he wrote on Twitter. “$5 billion would fund completion of top 10 border security priorities including (but not only) up to 215 miles of new & improved wall. The $1.3 billion Democrats say they will support would be as little as only 19 miles of wall. This is what Democrats want to shut down the government over. Not just a wall,but top 10 priorities of Comprehensive Border Security Improvement Plan. The costs of dealing with the drugs (heroin & fentanyl) crossing the border is alone enough to justify far more than $5 billion. If government shuts down tonight it will be because Senate Dems are refusing to fund even a small portion of the long-term border security improvement plan POTUS will have to negotiate with Sen. [Charles] Schumer [Democratic leader]. But protecting America shouldn’t be something you have to negotiate about.”

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat, called this a “government shutdown which was forced on the country by President Trump”:

“President Trump said that he would be proud to shut down the government and now he has done it. After two years, this president and the GOP majority in Congress have proven utterly incapable of governing. This is an embarrassing manufactured crisis by the Republican majority in Congress, which has the votes to easily pass an existing bipartisan spending bill. This shutdown puts our security and our economy at risk. As the party in charge of the Senate, House, and White House, the GOP has a responsibility to pass a budget that sustains critical services for the American people. Instead, they passed a $1.5 trillion tax giveaway for themselves and their donors while ignoring critical deadlines and pushing an anti-immigrant agenda. I will do everything in my power to reopen the government as soon as possible, but I will not compromise fundamental American values and vote to fund an ineffective wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for.”

U.S, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat, similarly called this a “Trump Shutdown”:

“As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked tirelessly with my Democratic colleagues to offer President Trump three options to keep the government open, but he and House Republicans have instead decided to unnecessarily prevent nearly 400,000 federal employees from receiving paychecks this holiday season. This pointless, destructive Trump shutdown will also halt loans to small businesses in need of support, end consumer protection and identity theft victims services, and curtail food inspections as families gather around the dinner table this week. The President said he would be ‘proud’ to shut down the government over his ineffective border wall, but unfortunately American families will have to pay a steep price for Trump’s tantrum.”

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, a Boca Raton Democrat, proved the universality of Democrats of the phrase “Trump Shutdown”:

“Taking orders from conservative talk host pundits, Donald Trump has driven us into a reckless government shutdown as most Americans prepare for the holidays. The President said that he’s ‘proud’ to shut down the government, threatening our national security and the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of workers just to fund his immoral, ineffective, and expensive wall. I remain ready to vote for a bipartisan agreement that keeps government open and allows us to address the many real challenges facing our nation.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, put out a statement explaining what will not be affected by the shutdown:

“The House adjourned until Saturday @ noon w/out agreement to fund the departments & agencies whose funding expires @ midnight tonight — 3/4 of the government has already been funded. The DoD has already been funded, so military personnel & operations will be unaffected.”

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, a Jacksonville Republican, defended the House bill:

“The House just passed a short-term funding package to keep the government operating until February 8, 2019. This bill includes $5 billion for the border wall and increased border security and roughly $8 billion in disaster relief to provide badly needed assistance to areas struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Florence, and the California wildfires. I supported this bill because Congress has the responsibility to uphold our laws, keep our communities safe and take care of citizens in need. I urge the Senate to quickly pass this legislation and send it to the president’s desk. The nation’s safety and security needs are too urgent to wait.”

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, an Orlando Democrat, put blame on the president:

“President Trump is once again putting his own interests above those of hardworking Americans who need their paychecks, especially this time of year. His willingness to shut down the government at the last minute (when he’s had two years to work on border security) is reckless.”

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, a Kissimmee Democrat, said this hurts families: “If #TrumpShutdown occurs, then 10,516 Floridians will be out of work right before Christmas! If GOP Congress didn’t fund the wall after 2 years in charge, they won’t now. So why hurt these Florida families?”

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican, criticized an inability to compromise:

“I will not be accepting any pay for as long as the federal government remains shut down. This is yet another sad example of Washington’s dysfunction and inability to compromise.”

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Gardens Democrat, put out a series of tweets blaming Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan:

“How’s that going, @SpeakerRyan? Your tax bill added $1.5 trillion to the national debt and now you want a #TrumpShutdown over $5 billion for a border wall that experts agree is useless. @SpeakerRyan built his reputation on being a deficit hawk, but the numbers don’t lie. FY18 Deficit (under Ryan’s watch): $782 billion; FY15 (year before he got the gavel): $439 billion. If @SpeakerRyan truly cared about the deficit he would oppose a #TrumpShutdown over $5 billion in taxpayer dollars to be wasted on a border wall that 69% of Americans say isn’t a priority. @SpeakerRyan’s support for the #TrumpShutdown to secure $5 billion for an unwanted and unneeded border wall is the height of hypocrisy. Have you no shame, @SpeakerRyan?””


Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]

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