Politics

Trump White House wasn’t prepared for a shutdown—and still isn’t prepared for what’s coming

What’s the worst possible thing to hear in the midst of a shutdown that is a week away from being the nation’s longest? 

The Trump administration, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact, several senior administration officials said. The officials said they were focused now on understanding the scope of the consequences and determining whether there is anything they can do to intervene.

As with everything else, Trump doesn’t operate on a plan. Today we’re bombing Syria. Today we’re getting out. It all depends on on how much indigestion Trump gets from his last double-cheese of the night, or maybe his interpretation of blink-messages passed along by Steve Doocy. Operating in a system where anything can happen, means that nothing can be anticipated, nothing is scheduled, nothing prepared.  

On the food stamp front, a SNAP contingency fund would mean that if the shutdown continues to February, families would still get 64 percent of their funding. Which is not enough to provide the nutrition needed, but better than the 0 percent that would be available the next month. 

Representative Rosa DeLauro: People in this country will go hungry. It’s simple. They go hungry. . . . These are working people. 

Ninety percent of the staff is at home at the IRS, meaning that tax refund checks are not going out. And as Americans begin working on tax forms that contain some radical changes from previous years, there is absolutely no one out there to answer the phone.

Ninety percent of the NASA staff is also sitting at home, crippling the nation’s launch capability. Better than half of the DHS staff is idled, while the other “exempt” half works on without pay. The same is true of the Coast Guard, which is conducting drug intercepts and high seas rescues with no prospect of pay. A lingering shutdown would mean that these systems, systems that control every border, would utterly collapse.

In a rambling, all-over-the-map press appearance on Friday, Donald Trump insisted that the people idled by his shut down were “with him,” and that if someone were to ask, they would tell him to “carry on.”

It’s high time someone asked.


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