Will the Government Shutdown Continue Into February?

by Taylor Smith
on January 10, 2019
6

Minute Read

Donald Trump is a polarizing figure. The 45th President of the United States has run quite the topsy-turvy administration in his nearly 2 full years in office. President Trump has already seen a number of shakeups to his cabinet and White House staff along the way already.

Those that have come and gone include Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House advisor Steve Bannon, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Communications Director Hope Hicks and countless others.

Trump has already run through 2 Chiefs of Staff (Reince Priebus, John Kelly), while a number of other secretaries and members of his staff have also left.

Trump has been dogged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the investigation regarding whether his election campaign colluded with Russia essentially since he took the Oath of Office in January of 2017.

Mueller’s investigation is still going, with no end in sight. Trump’s popularity with the general electorate has tumbled, but he remains on track to earn the Republican nomination for president in 2020, regardless.

While the Russia investigation is looming over everything, the most noteworthy story in the United States over the last several weeks has been the government shutdown. The government officially shut down at midnight on December 22nd as the president refused to sign a new spending bill that did not include any money for his border wall.

During the 2016 election cycle, one of Trump’s chief campaign promises was to build a concrete wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico.

Trump infamously declared that Mexico would pay for the wall despite Mexico’s repeated refusals to do so. After conservative commentators like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh chided Trump for failing to secure funding for said wall, the president declined to sign a bill that would fund the government and keep it open for business.

The shutdown continues to this day, and most in the know seem to think there is no end in sight. You can bet on just about everything in the world of politics nowadays, and the ongoing shutdown situation is no exception.

MyBookie has fresh odds posted regarding the current situation. Let’s roll through the 3 prop bets they have for us.

How Long Will the Shutdown Last After January 8th?

  • Over 20 ½ Days +130
  • Under 20 ½ Days -170

This post is being written on January 10th, so we are already a couple of days in. when asked about how long the shutdown may last as recently as a week ago, the president said that it could go on for months, even years.

I would imagine that was a bit of hyperbole coming from POTUS.

The partial government shutdown lasting that long would be disastrous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that thousands of government employees are currently being furloughed, which means they’re working without being paid. They will receive payment for their work once the shutdown is resolved, but in the meantime, thousands of Americans are missing out on paychecks.

About 800,000 government employees will not get paid on their scheduled payday of January 11th.

The lengthy shutdown has already sparked a number of protests all over the country with workers calling for the shutdown to end. Thousands of government workers are unable to make crucial mortgage or rent payments, which should obviously be of massive concern to the president.

However, Trump remains steadfast in his desire to secure funding for his wall. Trump wants in excess of $5 billion as a part of any government spending bill to be put toward the beginning of construction on a barrier on the United States’ southern border.

Trump is adamant that a wall along the Mexican border is necessary for national security. He continues to call illegal immigration a “security crisis” despite the fact that most reports on the matter suggest such a thing is hardly a crisis at all.

In an effort to try and drum up public support for his plan, Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office for the first time during his presidency during prime time on January 8th. During the speech, Trump incorrectly claimed that 90 percent of the heroin sold in America “floods across from our southern border.”

The fact is that the vast majority of drugs confiscated by border security officials are seized at legal ports of entry. So, Trump’s claim is unfounded, at best.

Trump has been negotiating with members of both political parties in an attempt to come to a deal, but there has been no progress.

Democrats, who just regained control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, remain unified against the idea of forcing American taxpayers to foot the bill for the president’s border wall. Most Republicans remain in support of Trump’s idea, but his support is getting dodgier as the shutdown drags on.

Both sides are going to have to concede something if a deal is to be struck any time soon. The House has already passed a proposed bill which now will go to the Senate.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he will not hold a vote in the Senate on a bill unless the president initially indicates that he would sign whatever gets passed.

So, the government is stuck at an impasse. There have been no indications regarding any tangible progress toward a deal, so at this point, I’m inclined to take the over on 20 ½ more days of the shutdown.

20 ½ days after January 8th would get us to January 29th. A lot can change in the coming weeks before we get there, but at this point, I think the over on 20 ½ looks like the most likely outcome, unfortunately.

Take the over on the shutdown taking another 20 ½ days (starting January 8th) at +130.

Will Border Wall Funding be Approved?

  • Yes +150
  • No -200

The fight over border wall funding is the only reason the shutdown is taking place. Trump refuses to sign any spending bill that does not fund his wall, so here we are. The Democrats have no incentive to cave to the president’s wishes and approve the funding, either. This shutdown lies solely on the shoulders of the president.

The Republicans held both chambers of Congress during Trump’s first 2 years in office. If he was so adamant about getting wall funding, he could have presumably gotten it fairly easily considering his own party held a majority in both the House and the Senate. Trump had a chance to secure some funding for his wall last summer in exchange for a resolution on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), but he passed.

The bet above does not specify whether the full $5.6 billion Trump wants for his wall will have to be approved. There have been some proposals that include about $2 billion for wall funding, but the president has rejected those plans.

So, I’m writing this blurb with the thought that “yes” will be the right bet if *any* amount of funding for the wall eventually gets approved, even if it’s less than Trump’s desired $5.6 billion.

Senate Republicans have reportedly tried to negotiate the president down, but that hasn’t yet worked. Politico reported on January 10 that a group of Senate Republicans attempted to talk Trump into the idea of opening the government without wall funding in order to let other congressional committees continue to negotiate for the wall.

Trump, who is worried that reopening the government without wall funding would make him look weak, rejected the idea. After Trump shot it down, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said,

“I think we’re stuck. I just don’t see a pathway forward. I don’t see a way forward.”

Once Trump starts worrying that the shutdown could start to negatively impact his re-election chances, I think he will start to come around on the idea of opening the government. Getting the Democrat-led House to approve any sort of wall funding at this point looks unlikely, so Trump will presumably have to be the one to cave on the issue.

Once the president starts to see the political consequences, I think he will reluctantly give in. So, I’m going to side with the favored “no” here at -200. I don’t think the next spending bill will give Trump any of the wall funding he’s seeking.

Will Trump Declare a National Emergency to Build the Wall?

  • Yes (by January 18th) -140
  • No (by January 18th) +100

Trump does not necessarily need to rely on Congress to approve of wall funding in order to get the job done. If Trump wants to deliver on what was arguably his No. 1 campaign promise, he does have the authority as president to declare the immigration situation at the southern border a “national security.”

If he does declare a national emergency, Trump has the power to use money from the Pentagon to pay for the construction of his wall along the southern border. This is an idea Trump has floated publicly in the past, but many believe it could have plenty of negative ramifications for him.

Regardless, CNN reported on January 10th that the White House legal counsel has started to explore avenues that would allow Trump to declare the national emergency and start building the wall.

Trump has said he would strongly consider doing so if negotiations continue to stall. Of course, that decision would immediately be met with all sorts of legal challenges, that would delay things considerably.

Before leaving on a trip to visit the southern border in Texas, Trump told the media,

“If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it, I would almost say definitely. This is a national emergency.”

Trump could declare the emergency before the courts sort it out. In the meantime, Trump could negotiate to reopen the government sans his wall funding.

Trump declaring a national emergency would grant him access to wall funding without congressional approval. His lawyers have reportedly told him that it’s within his rights if he wants to go that route. Vox reported later on Thursday that Trump’s advisers also believe that any such move would likely fail in court, leaving the president back at square one.

Considering the congressional negotiations seem to be going nowhere, Trump resorting to declaring a national emergency looks like the most logical escape plan for him. Even if it fails in court, he can claim to his base of voters that he tried hard to keep his signature campaign promise.

I think betting on “yes” at -140 here makes some sense. That’s the way the wind is blowing on the issue.
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