Is this the new normal? Resolving the government shutdown shows no signs of progress at the moment and according to lawmakers could go on for weeks. Unlike the Sequester the effects of a government shutdown are much more obvious though the tolerance by the American people to accept less seems infinite.
The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions — from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans’ claims — in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks.
One reason it could last for weeks is that is how long it will take for some of the pain to be felt. In the meantime, Republicans in the House seem to have embraced the Cruz plan of passing things piece meal to force the Democrats to vote no on funding favored programs.
Late Tuesday, House Republicans sought passage of legislation aimed at reopening small slices of the government. The bills covered the national parks, the Veterans Affairs Department and city services in Washington, D.C., such as garbage collection funded with local tax revenues.
The move presented Democrats with politically challenging votes but they rejected the idea, saying it was unfair to pick winners and losers as federal employees worked without a guarantee of getting paid and the effects of the partial shutdown rippled through the country and the economy. The White House promised a veto.
Will Democrats still reject that idea in a few weeks? And can Republicans take the pain of a shutdown any better?
The creation of extremely safe congressional districts along with unlimited corporate contributions has given some far right House Republicans a cushion. But no one can say whether or not a shutdown throws that stability out of balance. All bets may be off if the pain from lack of federal government services gets bad enough.