Opinion

KERNS: Remember When Obama And Clinton Shut Down Government For Their Own Pet Projects?

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Jen Kerns Contributor

Liberals are up in arms over federal workers being furloughed after Democrats refused President Trump’s latest offer to fund a budget bill.

From the ladies of “The View to the “fake news” mongers over at CNN, the hand-wringing this week has been epic. Some have suggested that President Trump selfishly shutdown the government over his pet project — the border wall.

How short their memories are! (RELATED: It’s Time For Congress To Call Trump’s Bluff And Pass A Budget)

It was President Obama who shut the government in 2013 specifically over his namesake pet project — “Obamacare” — after Congress declined to fully fund his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

By comparison, Obama’s was a “complete” shutdown, whereas Trump’s is only a “partial” shutdown. In fact, Obama’s action was more damaging to workers than Trump’s. Obama furloughed far more government employees – more than 800,000 workers were furloughed without pay, while another 1.3 million were asked to work without pay. Compare that to just 380,000 furloughed workers and 420,000 exempt employees working without pay under Trump until the partial shutdown ends.

Obama’s shutdown was not only harsh for workers, it was a lengthy one. It remains the third-longest government shutdown in American history.

Prior to Obama’s shutdown, it was another Democrat — President Clinton — who ordered the most recent shutdown.

Clinton’s shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 were among the most notable in U.S. history.

During his government shutdowns, Clinton similarly furloughed 800,000 workers and asked others to work without pay, because he and Congress couldn’t agree on such topics as Medicare, environmental pet projects and other reforms to healthcare (stemming from his family’s pet project, “Hillarycare.”)

In terms of length, Clinton’s two government shutdowns spanned a combined total of 27 days. (The November 1995 shutdown was the impetus for the infamous first meeting between Monica Lewinsky and Clinton occurred in the West Wing, which later led to his impeachment.).

Democrats aren’t alone in the history of government shutdowns.

President Reagan ordered a whopping eight government shutdowns stemming from disagreements over the fairness doctrine, welfare, foreign aid cuts, missile funding and more.

President George H.W. Bush also ordered a shutdown over spending, though it lasted through just one Columbus Day holiday weekend.

The point is, government shutdowns do happen and they are a function of, well, the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.  It is a president’s prerogative to cease government spending if Congress cannot succeed in coming to resolution over its funding; in fact, under the separation of powers clause in the United States Constitution, it is his Constitutional duty to do so.

For liberals to suggest that Trump’s government shutdown is out of the norm is not only factually incorrect, it is pure hypocrisy given that all of the government shutdowns of the prior 20 years have been at the hands of Democratic presidents.

Moreover, anyone surprised that President Trump shut down the government over border security has simply not been paying attention. From the moment he announced his candidacy for president in June 2015, to the moment he overwhelmingly won the presidency in November 2016, to the moment he openly offered during a live-televised cabinet meeting to “sign” any immigration bill brought to his desk in February 2018, he has continuously pledged to secure the border — or else, “Drain the swamp.” It is simply one more campaign promise he has kept to the American people.

Jen Kerns (@JenKernsUSA) served as spokeswoman for the California Republican Party; spokeswoman for California’s Proposition 8, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; and as a Fox News writer for the 2016 U.S. presidential debates.


 The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.