Changing times: Remember when Democrats opposed shutting down the government?

Changing times: Remember when Democrats opposed shutting down the government?
With one month to go until lawmakers must either approve another government spending measure or shut down the federal bureaucracy, Democrats seem open to the idea they not too long ago railed against. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

You’re probably old enough to remember when Democrats were absolutely appalled by the idea of shutting down the federal government.

That’s probably because it was just three months ago that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said during a speech on the U.S. Senate floor that shutting down the government would “hurt millions of Americans,” adding that it would be “not doing right” by the people.

Schumer’s statement in December 2016 came as Democrats threatened to shut down the government over cuts to health care for coal miners. The government ultimately remained open as the result of a down-to-the-wire, late-Friday night vote, the Washington Post reported.

The last time the federal government actually did shut down was in 2013 when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) led the crusade to try to delay the implementation of Obamacare. The federal government did not operate in its usual capacity for more than two weeks as lawmakers sought to etch out a deal to fund the government.

Then-President Barack Obama criticized Republicans at the time, saying it was politicians’ “basic responsibility” to keep the government running.

But now, with just one month to go until lawmakers must either approve another government spending measure or shut down the federal bureaucracy, Democrats seem open to the idea they not too long ago railed against.

“One of our challenges is we’re Democrats. We don’t want to shut down the government. We actually think the government overall does good things for the American people,” Sen. Chris Coons from Delaware said earlier this month, according to CNN.

But Coons later said the Democrats’ “ultimate card is to shut down the government when we get to the end of the funding.”

The end of the “current funding,” known as Continuing Resolution, ends April 28, Roll Call reported.

Schumer, who said just three months ago that shutting down the government would hurt “millions of Americans,” also seemed open to the possibility.

Schumer, who is now Senate Minority Leader, suggested earlier this month that Democrats might object in a very tangible way if Republicans try to defund Planned Parenthood or fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border in the next CR. “If they put those poison pill amendments in and try to shove them down the American people’s throats,” he said, “of course, they might be responsible for shutting the government down.”

The seeming hypocrisy of Democrats decrying a government shutdown in 2013 while remaining open to the possibility now is not lost on anyone, though, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I’m amused by the Democrats apparently warming up to the idea that threatening to shut down the government is a good idea,” McConnell said earlier this month, according to the Hill.

“It seems to me everybody’s got kind of memory loss on the other side,” McConnell said.

(H/T: Daily Caller)

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