So there won’t be a shutdown after all–at least until November 15, when the continuing resolution ends. I won’t say that I boldly predicted this outcome, but I did argue that there was no endgame for the Freedom Caucus (the Republicans who were pushing the shutdown), so it didn’t make much sense for them to do this in the first place, which could mean they would fold–and they did fold.
While a lot of people tried to channel the Michael Caine soliloquy from one of the Batman movies where he talks about how some men just want to watch the world burn to explain the Freedom Caucus, I don’t think that’s correct. Very simply, the Freedom Caucus members, even compared to the rest of the Republican caucus, are stupid and ignorant. They did not understand their opponents, both within their party and in the Democratic Party, nor did they understand the legislative process (and whip count), so we had this pointless conflict.
Of course, the continuing resolution wouldn’t have passed without massive Democratic support: over 99% of Democrats supported it*, while only 58% of Republicans did. If you watched the vote, once Republicans realized Democrats were going to bail them out, you could see multiple Republicans change their vote to nay, so they can gull the rubes back home with their ersatz opposition, while reaping the benefits of the continuing resolution. Same as it ever was.
Like I hinted at in the beginning of the post, I think there’s a really good chance we’re right back to an imminent shutdown when the continuing resolution expires. If nothing else, the House Republicans–and not just the Freedom Caucus–want to massively slash NIH funding, including 22.9% cuts to NIAID**, which funds most of the infectious disease research in the U.S. (and arguably, the world). That’s going to be a poison pill, not only for Democrats in both bodies (and the Biden administration), but also for some Senate Republicans (Republicans also want to cut other institutes for unstated, less obvious reasons).
So there’s a good chance we’ll have another possible shutdown November 15.
*The one Democrat who voted against it did so because there were no funds for Ukraine. Stopping Russian imperialism isn’t a bad thing, even if some who wish to do so are Western imperialists (to use an old-timey phrase).
**Anthony Fauci was the former head of NIAID, and they want to destroy NIAID for… reasons.