By Penza News
The partial US government shutdown will subtract 0.1 percentage point from growth every week, CNBC reports referring to an anonymous source in the White House.
The longest in recent history impasse between the administration and the congress has already led to a budget crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of civil servants and contractors.
However, the US President Donald Trump is still seeking 5.6 billion dollars for a border wall with Mexico. Democrats, who have gained control over the House of Representatives, call the crisis “artificial” and do not agree to send budget money to build a barrier.
Analyzing the difficult domestic political situation in the United States, Louis Fisher, Scholar in Residence at the Constitution Project at POGO, who previously worked at the Library of Congress as Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers at Congressional Research Service and as Specialist in Constitutional Law at the Law Library of Congress, stressed that Donald Trump’s inflexibility has already led to serious problems, putting at risk many essential governmental programs.
“The Food and Drug Administration has suspended all inspections of domestic food-processing facilities, creating health hazards for the general public. Farmers are unable to receive subsidies to plant crops. The capacity of airports to conduct checkpoints to ensure safety is under increasing strain. Damage is being done to national parks. Many federal contractors are out of work,” the expert explained.
Moreover, according to him, in this climate, various shops and businesses have lost their customers as well.
“Although the House of Representatives, now under control of the Democratic Party, has passed a number of bills to reopen executive departments, Senator Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican-run Senate, has made it clear he will not allow votes on those bills unless President Trump intends to sign them. By Saturday, January 12, the shutdown will become the longest in US history. Which political party will be blamed the most for this economic and political damage?” Louis Fisher wondered.
He also reminded that Donald Trump has claimed he can declare a “national emergency” to build the wall if Congress fails to enact the funds he has requested.
“Some discretion exists for funds appropriated but not yet obligated, as those in the Defense Department. However, no authority allows the President to take funds from the Pentagon and use them for programs operated by another executive agency, such as the Department of Homeland Security. Such efforts would amount to transferring the constitutional power of the purse from Congress to the President,” the expert explained.
In turn, Clive Williams from the Australian National University called the situation in the US unprecedented.
“It is incredible. The same thing could not happen in Australia because if supply of government operating funds was blocked the Governor General would dissolve the government and call an election. There seems to be little sign of real progress in the US, but the Democrats seem to be winning the PR war,” he said.
According to the analysts, except for the state of emergency to resolve the issue of a border wall with Mexico, Donald Trump can use his authority of the Supreme Commander.
“As Commander in Chief he could order the Corps of Engineers to build the wall – which means it would have to be funded out of the Defense budget,” Clive Williams said.
However, in his opinion, the administration and the congress still have the opportunity to agree.
“At some point the Republicans and Democrats will probably compromise on some sort of barrier, which may or may not be physical, and may or may not be continuous from coast to coast. Trump will no doubt then declare victory. Cynics say he should just declare to his gullible followers that the wall has been built and Mexico paid for it and it’s the best wall ever – and move on. Trump tells so many lies that another probably would not matter that much,” the Australian expert suggested.
“The irony is that the US has had more problems with terrorists entering the US from Canada than it has from Mexico. Some Mexicans think a barrier might be a good thing to keep the crazies in the US,” he added.
Meanwhile, Henry Brands, Historian at the University of Texas at Austin, Member of the Society of American Historians and the Philosophical Society of Texas, paid special attention to instability within the country.
“The situation in the US today is polarized yet fluid. The capture of the House of Representatives by the democrats might change things dramatically, as they will possess investigative powers lacking so far,” the analyst reminded.
In his opinion, it is impossible to predict the course of events in the current conditions.
“How the democrats wield this power, and how the president responds, remain to be seen. Rarely has the political situation in the United States been as unpredictable as it is now. This is why I’m not going to predict more,” Henry Brands said.
Daniel Chirot, the author of Modern Tyrants, Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, shared the view that the situation in the United States is now very uncertain.
“Neither the President nor the Democratic Party are willing to compromise on the issue of the wall demanded by the President. The Republican Party is not willing to act against the President though many of them in the Senate do not really agree with him. The ensuing paralysis of government carries over into many other areas as well, and we can expect two years of more paralysis and increasing bitterness,” Daniel Chirot said.
If there is any sort of crisis – economic, in domestic affairs, or in international matters, the American Government may be unable to react in an intelligent, rational way, he said.
“In the case of the introduction of a state of emergency, the President would certainly be accused of illegal and dishonest behavior, and that will only make the situation worse as it will bring in the Supreme Court, which is already being increasingly viewed as just another partisan body and not a fair, impartial court,” the expert noted.
In his opinion, things are likely to just get worse “until eventually there is a crisis so serious that it will bring in a major political change.”
“The last time this happened was with the 1930s Depression, and then the 1941 Japanese attack on the United States that ended majority support for isolation. The time it happened before then was in 1860 when there began a terrible civil war over the issue of slavery. Of course it is not certain that such a crisis will occur soon, but eventually, if not during the Trump administration, then later because the country is so deeply divided,” Daniel Chirot explained, stressing that the situation will not get better even after Trump.
According to him, “the world should be careful,” because with all of its problems, the United States possess serious military and economic power.
“Any country trying to take advantage of the United States could wind up provoking a far more dangerous crisis. An angry, wounded elephant is much dangerous than a calm and rational one,” the analyst concluded.