Blame for the government shutdown

Jack Bernard is the former Director of Health Planning for Georgia. He retired as a SVP with a national healthcare corporation and is a nationally published expert on health reform.

“The President and Republicans in Congress stand ready to find a solution to reopen the government and invest in our nation’s border security – including a border wall system.” – Rep. Drew Ferguson

Per our Congressman, Drew Ferguson, Democrats are “using the federal workforce as a political pawn” and don’t want to reopen government or have adequate border security. Let’s examine the veracity of Ferguson’s position.
On 12-6-18, per “whitehouse.gov,” which is the official Presidential website, President Trump stated on national TV (to Pelosi and Schumer, regarding the wall), “Yes, if we don’t get what we want, one way or the other — whether it’s through you, through a military, through anything you want to call — I will shut down the government.”
Schumer’s response was, “Okay. Fair enough. We disagree”.
To make sure he was not misunderstood, the President repeated the same refrain several times, stating, “The people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So, I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
Regardless of whether or not one believes the shutdown to be a good thing, when the President says publicly several times that he’s “the one to shut it down” and “I’m not going to blame you for it,” there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind who is directly responsible for closing the government. In fact, in mid-December the GOP-run Senate unanimously passed a bill to keep the government open. Outgoing Speaker Ryan refused to bring it before the House because he stated Trump would not sign it.
Somehow Trump’s base doesn’t seem to believe the President’s own words. An astounding 68 percent of Republicans (and 29 percent of all Americans) still blame congressional Democrats for the shutdown (ABC-WP poll, 1-13-19). Due to Trump’s constant drumming, 42 percent of Americans now support a wall of some sort, primarily due to Republican support increasing by 16 percent over the past year.
On the other point that Trump made regarding “dangerous criminals” coming across the Mexicans border, per Border Patrol here are the facts: A. The number of people stopped crossing the border is not just down, it’s dropped dramatically from 1,643,679 in FY2000 to 396,607 in fy2018 (Vox, 1-9-19); B. For all of FY2018, there were only three “criminal aliens” who were stopped and arrested at the border for homicide and only 73 for sexual offenses of any kind. The majority of so-called criminal aliens (3637 people) were simply arrested for the crime of illegal reentry into the USA.
As for terrorists, NBC examined the data and found only six known/suspected terrorists were caught entering the country on the southern border for the first six months of 2018. Thousands were caught at various airports nowhere near Mexico.
Certainly drugs are coming through the southern border, but much more is coming through our ports of entry. Building a wall will simply shift more of the drug traffic from the border to the ports. As long as there is demand and money to be made, drugs will be here regardless of a wall.
The GOP controlled the Presidency and the Congress for both 2017 and 2018. If the wall is the solution, why didn’t the Republican Congress simply pass legislation? Because Congress knows that simply building a wall is not the answer to our immigration problems.
The $24 billion dollar wall, which Trump repeatedly and emphatically stated would be paid for by Mexico, is just another of Trump’s rally points to incite his nationalistic base. It is dismaying to have GOP Congressmen such as Drew Ferguson support foolish expenditures and blame the other party for closing down our government when he obviously must know better.

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