With the recent gridlock in Congress, the partial government shutdown has lasted over a month now. No matter which side you are on, this is not right.
While federal spending should be brought under control and national security maintained, suddenly withholding employees’ pay is not the solution. However, this is the solution employed. It seems that those politically aligned to the president are especially callous to the harm done by this tactic. However, while President Trump and his fellow Republicans seem fine prolonging this, the other side is not better.
The president and Senate Republicans are being blamed for the effects of the government shutdown, most notably furloughed and unpaid government workers. However, it can be easy to forget that this problem has an easy solution which the president cannot initiate anyways: fund the government.
To fund the government and end the chaos brought to the lives of so many families, House Democrats will need to capitulate to the principal demand of the president: fund the wall. While this seems politically catastrophic and reprehensible to many of the House Democrats, it is actually the best opportunity they have.
Putting aside the issue of whether or not the wall is a good idea (since that would involve a discussion about the Democratic Party’s flip-flopping on immigration which is just … sad), this is an opportunity to shove whatever difficult policy they need into the bill.
While Democrats are often in the spotlight over their position on social issues — most recently their success in New York in legalizing the murder of infants as they are practically exiting the womb — they have worthwhile economic policies that need to be funded.
By allowing a wall, they could fund necessary initiatives like green energy programs and environmental protections. Given the real long-term crisis posed by climate change and the real damage done to public health caused by pollution, there is a true need to use prime opportunities like these to get funding to combat these dilemmas.
By allowing a wall, they could fund necessary updates to infrastructure such as in public transportation and projects already started but halted.
By allowing a wall, they could adjust funding in the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow for proper and humane healthcare and cut funding for certain areas of the military such as Guantánamo Bay.
These are not radical ideas. They are major part of the Democratic Party’s own platform. They are initiatives far overdue.
However, these policies, while overdue, are not the top priority right now. Right now, by allowing the wall, they would stop the immediate harm done to those Americans who work for their government. These Americans, going to food banks and taking out loans, are in need right now. They too need support from the hardship they are suffering; they need their own wages.
Considering that Trump may choose to unilaterally build the wall anyways, this is the prime moment to at least get good projects funded which may never be approved without this compromise. Speaker Pelosi, while you may need to swallow your pride, read your own platform, value the human dignity of government workers and build up this wall.