Past showdowns happened in divided governments, and still Republicans got blamed. So what’s different now?
President Donald Trump, flanked by Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces the prospect of the first government shutdown when one party controlled all levers of government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Among the story lines that have made the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency genuinely unique, few can top this one for its potential consequences for responsible governance as well as good politics: A government controlled exclusively by one party may shut itself down.
Four times in the past three decades, budgetary impasses have required non-essential personnel to stay home and the activities at their agencies to be suspended. In each case, at least one chamber of Congress was controlled by a political party different from the president’s, the stalemates reflecting intractable partisan disagreements over policies and spending priorities.