Up to how long will the shutdown be?

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As I See It

By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO

The way I see it, the 32-day partial government shutdown, the longest in the history of our country, is not ending sooner or later! Why? Because the protagonists (US President Donald Trump, the GOP — Grand Old Party or the Republican Party– and the Democratic Party) cannot agree on a proposal that will work and end the shutdown. None of the parties are giving up their turfs which prompted the deadlock or impasse for more than a month now. The negotiating table is at a loss because none of them are giving up any inch of their individual positions.

The latest proposal of President Trump for a 3-year reprieve for DACA and TPS recipients in exchange for a $5.7 B border wall at the southern portion of US and Mexico was rejected by the Democrats. Their argument was: Trump’s 3-year reprieve for DACA and TPS recipients is temporary or palliative in exchange for Trump’s permanent wall at the southern border of US and Mexico. The Democrats want a permanent path to citizenship for DACA and TPS recipients in exchange for a permanent border wall. Okay, but what if Trump will agree to a path for citizenship, will the Democrats agree to pass the $5.7 B border wall? Or, what if Trump agree on a reduced border wall, say $2.5 B in exchange for a 3-year temporary relief for DACA and TPS, will the Democrats agree? These are questions that keeps on lingering in my mind.

I think the Democrats are for national security. No doubt about it. All they want is for Trump to itemize how the $5.7 B border budget be spent, which Trump is not likely to do.

What if Trump agree to do it, will the Democrats go for it? The problem is, should Trump itemize and allot all the money to physical walls or fences, I don’t think the Democrats will agree on it. Well again, these are subject to negotiations which the parties need to articulate in the process. What matters is, open the government and sit down to trace out the major issue of border wall and citizenship. This is a gray area because Trump is not amenable to do it without the border wall in consideration. Who suffers? The American people!

If only both parties will be flexible and enter into real negotiations where the real meaning of negotiations is adhering to parting with something and coming up with a compromise, then there will be no problem. Both are looking at each angle as win for either of them, and avoiding loss. They need to strike a win-win compromise to be able to really make negotiations!

Also, I would like to see the GOP working as an independent body, a co-equal branch of the Executive branch, not being dictated by the President on what he wants to do. Say, the Senate and Congress working as a legislative body coming up with bi-partisan proposals for the good of the country, unmindful of what the President wants or doesn’t want they need to pass these legislations and send them to the President for signature or veto. If said legislations don’t contain the $5.7 B border wall, just keep on sending the proposals for the president’s approval or veto. If he sees that both Congress and the Senate are working as one, as a legislative body, there will come a time that Trump will be forced to sign the legislations for the interest of the people and end the shutdown. This way, he won’t be faulted.

The only problem here is, up to how long the President will favorably act on it. But, if he is really a President who is concerned about the welfare of his people, as he claims to be, he should be acting on the legislation immediately. Otherwise, he will be faulted forever!

The worst scenario is, I hope we will not resort to this kind of situation, there will be a major event/development that happens that really undermine national security. Example, this is a hypothetical example, big time syndicate and well-entrenched drug lords with their illegal followers, enter the country via the southern border of the country and Mexico.

When this happens, Trump’s border wall will be upheld and I think the Democrats will agree on his latest proposal.

On the same scenario, look at the situation where the drug lords enter the country, not in the proposed border wall, but in various airports. This scenario will definitely lose the border wall’s merits and Trump may have to abandon the border wall and agree on the Democrat’s proposals.

As to the plan of the president to declare a state of emergency so he can build his wall, I think this is uncalled for. Besides, it will just lead us to legal battles because there is really no national emergency going on and will just compound the problem we are facing right now.

There are a lot of things going on in the country today, as a result of the shutdown. The teachers’ strike in Los Angeles may be an isolated case but definitely a spin- off of the shutdown. They may have agreed to come up with a compromise this morning but it went on for a week jeopardizing the students, the teachers, and other stakeholders at a time that the shutdown is going on. The school district and the negotiators met and they were able to strike a working compromise that ended the strike and resumed classes in the district. Can’t the three branches of government – the Office of the President, Congress, and the Senate – do the same thing?

At a time that the government is on a partial shutdown, these peripheral issues should not be happening because it will just compound the issue at hand.

This is a call for President Trump, the Democrats and the GOP: Please end the shutdown and work out your differences… without pinpointing fingers, just honest-to-goodness legislative and executive work for the good of the people!

(For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).

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