All Sections

Home  Editorials

Stupid shutdown: Shaheen and Hassan own it

January 22. 2018 8:13PM

The New Hampshire Republican Party is calling on members of the state’s congressional delegation to forego their salaries when the federal government is shut down.

We would settle for them not using taxpayer-funded resources touting how hard they worked to end the weekend shutdown they caused.

Last Friday, Senate Democrats, including Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan filibustered a continuing resolution to keep the government open and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years.

The Republican bill was not controversial, but Democrats insisted it include extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would allow children brought to the U.S. illegally to remain. Yet Democrats were unwilling to negotiate on other immigration reforms, such as ending family-based chain migration.

When House Republicans pulled a similar stunt in 2013, Shaheen accused them of holding federal funding hostage. Then-Gov. Hassan called the shutdown “reckless.”

In 2015, Shaheen wrote in this paper warning of the dire costs of a shutdown on New Hampshire small businesses. Yet she was willing to shut down the government in order to shield illegal immigrants.

On Monday, Shaheen and Hassan joined a hasty Democratic retreat, and the federal government is open for business. Democrats got nothing for their stupid stunt, other than what amounted to a three-day weekend for a segment of federal workers.

It is reminiscent of Hassan’s veto of the Republican budget in 2015. She ended up signing a nearly identical bill into law three months later.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to bring up DACA later this year, as the Senate continues to work toward a bipartisan immigration policy. There’s a deal to be made.

DACA’s so-called Dreamers could remain in the U.S legally, immigration preference could be given for an applicant’s skills rather than his relatives, and Congress could increase funding for border protection.

Under the broken federal budget process, spending will be authorized through Feb. 8, setting up another silly showdown, and another threat of a shutdown.

Such brinkmanship is no way to run a government. The blame for this feckless foolishness goes far beyond Shaheen, Hassan, and the Democratic Party. Washington Republicans should have returned to an orderly appropriations process years ago.

President Donald Trump’s chaotic negotiating style severely undermined the chances of good faith discussions on immigration, or anything else.

Yet it is Shaheen and Hassan adopting the very tactics that they had spent years decrying that deserves the most ridicule.

In backing away from their ill-conceived government shutdown, Shaheen and Hassan echoed Saturday Night Live’s Emily Litella:

“Never mind.”

Business Politics Social issues Editorial

Newsletter Signup