Republicans control the White House, House, and Senate. And they still cannot get even the most basic tasks done.
Republicans were rocked earlier this year by their failure to repeal Obamacare amid a wave of protest from the American people. Desperate to walk away with at least one major legislative success this year, they are now struggling to pass a tax scheme which is nearly as unpopular.
But Republicans have much bigger problems now than simply a lack of big-ticket right-wing bills. They may not be able to fund the government at all.
The deadline to pass a major routine spending bill is looming in early December, and Donald Trump already injured budget talks by insulting Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on Twitter.
Republicans are increasingly worried that standoffs on everything from the Children’s Health Insurance Program to protections for DREAMers will result in Democrats bolting, their own party split, and — ultimately — a government shutdown.
This would be a monumental humiliation for Republicans, as Bloomberg Politics reporter Sahil Kapur noted:
If there's no deal by 12/8, it'll be the first time in the modern age that a party in control of the House, Senate and White House shuts down its government.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) November 28, 2017
Government shutdowns have happened in recent memory. In 2013, a gang of lawmakers, spurred on by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, shut down the government for weeks in an attempt to force Democrats to “defund” Obamacare. And in 1995, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich forced a shutdown after being “snubbed” by President Bill Clinton on Air Force One.
But both of those cases were Republican lawmakers trying to hold a Democratic president hostage. If a shutdown happens now, it would be nothing more than a self-inflicted wound for the Republican Party, and further proof that they are either incapable of or uninterested in governing — or both.
Republicans have staked their entire party platform and ideology on the idea that government doesn’t work. But their every bumble and misstep prove that only one part of government is essentially nonfunctional: the Republican Party.