Politics

It’s the Most Shutdown Time of the Year

There’s even a Washington Redskins angle to the shutdown showdown

If parts of the government shut down, it will come right before Christmas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like

Christmas

a partial government shutdown.

Not to be a bummer, but when the usually “It’s all good” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says we’re “on a road to nowhere,” the House schedules a short workweek filled with all manner of TBD, and President Donald Trump boasts in the Oval Office, on camera, that “I am proud to shut down the government,” well, it’s not exactly difficult to imagine that come next Friday, nine Cabinet departments and some other assorted agencies will be shut down. 

The amount Trump is currently demanding for a border wall, $5 billion, and the amount he requested in his budget earlier this year, $1.6 billion, is the deal-breaker so far. In a roughly $4.4 trillion budget, around $3 billion large seems, well, small. But ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

At least in these trying times, there are the occasional moments of levity. 

On the House floor Thursday, as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer hashed out the coming week’s schedule — such as it is, since the only time they know they need to be in Washington is Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. — the two engaged in a little good-natured banter, noting that with the coming new Congress, Hoyer, the incoming majority leader, will likely be conducting such colloquies with incoming Minority Whip Steve Scalise and not McCarthy, who is ascending to his caucus’s top position, minority leader. (The colloquy is largely conducted by each party’s respective No. 2s.)

“Although your questions were rarely confined to the schedule for the week to come,” McCarthy said, as Hoyer started laughing over him, “I have actually grown to enjoy these colloquies.”

And toward the end, there was mirth and gift-giving, and light-natured jabs. 

“In the spirit of the season,” McCarthy said, pulling out a gift bag for Hoyer. “It comes from a little shop in my hometown, family owned. They’re excited about what we’ve been able to do this Congress. It’s a little candy.”

Hoyer, laughing, thanked McCarthy and quipped back, “I must say, Mr. Speaker, I have a serious suspicion. I trust the majority leader. But I believe that gift was probably purchased by Judy, his wonderful, beautiful wife.”

Both men laughed, obviously enjoying the moment, if not the fact that at the time, there were just eight days left before a partial government shutdown.

Speaking of Shutdowns, and the Washington Football Team, There’s This Week’s Podcast!

UNITED STATES - June 13: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (originally District of Columbia Stadium (D.C. Stadium), commonly RFK Stadium or RFK) is a multi-purpose stadium, located near the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers in Washington, D.C., United States, and the current home of MLS's D.C. United, the AT&T Nation's Football Classic?, and frequently the United States Men's National Soccer Team. The stadium was opened in October 1961, as District of Columbia Stadium. It is now owned and operated by Events DC, a quasi-public organization affiliated with the city government. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
Will the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium see a Redskins return? The White House, D.C. Council and Congress would need to weigh in. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As if the drama over the shutdown was not weird enough, there is a Washington Redskins angle to it. Thanks to some crack reporting from The Washington Post, we know that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is trying to get the White House, Congress and the D.C. City Council to sign off on a new lease for the city around the old RFK Stadium site where the football team used to play. It’s a priority for Snyder, because it would be necessary for him to eventually plot a return to D.C. from Landover, Maryland. 

And how does that relate to the shutdown? Well, any spending deal would likely be the last piece of legislation passed this year, and Snyder isn’t so confident a new Democratic majority in the House would be cool with a Redskins Redux. Brandon Wetherbee of Brightest Young Things helps us make sense out of the strange football fellows situation on this week’s Political Theater podcast.

The Kicker 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.