Whether the government shuts down or not will be up to Trump.
That decision is going to be between letting Obamacare fall into the death-spiral he gleefully tweets about and risking another complete shutdown, or saving the Republican albatross and preventing any stall.
While that may not be news to anyone, it should cause more concern since a lot of officials in D.C. are feeling an awful sense of deja vu — this was the same issue that brought the government to a screeching halt before and may again for a new reason.
Surprisingly, there seems to be consensus in the two parties on the point of subsidies.
Congressional Republicans still want to see Obamacare burn, but they are not keen on seeing a Republican-run government take responsibility for the chaos that would ensue afterward. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) and Greg Walden (R-Oregon), who have seats on the Appropriations and Energy and Commerce committees, respectively, support cost-sharing subsidies.
“I don’t think anyone wants to disrupt the markets any more than they already are,” Rep. Cole said in an interview with the New York Times.
He stated, in his personal opinion, yes, Congress should help front the cost on Obamacare, echoing the rest of his party, which is a tail-flip position from just a few weeks ago.
Democrats have supported cost-sharing subsidies since the beginning, and are willing to work across the aisle to get this done; sharing with Republicans the concern that a halt in this difficult process would place the government in an increasingly similar position to right before the shutdown of 2013.
So, while many political pundits are surprised at the cross-aisle negotiations, they are looking to Trump, who hasn’t said anything yet. The administration hasn’t made its position on the matter clear, despite a shutdown encroaching as soon as Friday.
Instead, Trump has put out non-committal, vague statements, such as this tweet from Sunday:
“Obamacare is in serious trouble. The Democrats need big money to keep it going — otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought.”
So … is that a no? Nobody knows, including one White House official who was asked about the matter, and responded, “I don’t know,” when asked if the shutdown was going to happen.
The rest of us can only hope that Trump, who is gearing up for another trip to Mar-A-Lago this weekend, is actually giving this issue some thought in his relative silence.
Benjamin Hummel is an English and speech & communications major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]