Will they or won’t they? That’s the question on everyone’s mind in the U.S. as we watch “The Bachelor…” Oh, wait. My bad. As we watch to see whether or not extremist Republicans will shut down the federal government.
And before your eyes glaze over, know this: I, too, am sick of this shit. It’s old. It’s boring. Republicans pull this every single time, making demands as the clock ticks down. But it’s worth noting that the Republicans pulling the strings right now are the party’s ultra-extremists (I know, I know. It’s hard to tell the difference). So their demands for the 2024 budget are, likewise, more extreme than ever, including “measures that put the nation’s LGBTQ community at risk by threatening to weaken certain anti-discrimination protections and restrict gender-affirming health care for transgender adults and minors,” according to The Hill.
See, when it comes to funding the government, that’s Congress’s job. But Republicans hate government. They don’t believe it works — unless the government is being weaponized against transgender kids, say — so why fund it?
And wouldn’t you know it, disgraced former president Donald Trump is urging Republicans to shut it all down unless they get what they want.
It’s all very dumb. Except that a shutdown does have real consequences. Say you want to, I don’t know, fly somewhere and not have your plane crash into another plane.
In an interview with CNN, the world’s most lovable Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said a shutdown would include “shutting down air traffic control training at the exact moment when the country recognizes the need for more, not less, ATC staffing.” In addition, “The air traffic controllers who would be working in the towers, they wouldn’t get paid. They’re under enough stress as it is doing that job without having to come into work with the added stress of not receiving a paycheck.”
People doing a very stressful job in stressful conditions who aren’t even getting paid. What could go wrong?
It’s not just ATC. According to PBS, “Federal agencies will stop all actions deemed non-essential, and millions of federal employees, including members of the military, won’t receive paychecks.”
Cool, cool. Totally normal way to run a country.
Speaking of running a country, Republicans have been screaming that government needs to be run like a business for longer than I’ve been alive. Last time I checked, a successful business can’t just stop paying the bills. No wonder they think Donald Trump is a business genius.
Underscoring the fact that the demands of the most extreme Republicans are what is bringing us to the brink of a shutdown, the Human Rights Campaign has jumped into the fray. According to The Hill, Republican demands include preventing “the Department of Defense from displaying LGBTQ pride flags and funding drag shows. It would also rule out certain schoolbooks with LGBTQ themes and gender-affirming medical care for service members and their dependents.”
Pretty wild that Republicans are focused on things like “funding drag shows,” as if that’s what the Department of Defense is doing on the daily. But even if they were, the DoD does have a LOT of money. Like more money than any other government department. Like, TOO much money. So why not splurge on a little entertainment for the troops?
HRC has released a 30-second ad with a voiceover that says, “You sent your representative to Washington to work on behalf of everyday Americans like you. But House Republicans spent the summer trying to divide us and failing to pass essential spending bills. Instead, they’re trying to limit the health care you and your family can access, ban books and flags and block enforcement of civil rights laws, all while risking the government grinding to a halt. Tell Congress to reject the politics of hate and get back to work.”
Granted, if your representative is, say, Marjorie Taylor Greene or Matt Gaetz, they will just tell you to go pound sand. These aren’t people interested in doing their jobs.
Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson accused House Republicans in a press release of hijacking “the appropriations process to attack LGBTQ+ communities” and said a shutdown would be “the height of irresponsibility.”
I mean, we HOPE that a shutdown is as far as their irresponsibility goes. Sadly, something tells me that Republicans will just see that as a challenge.