If Trump vetoes the Covid-19 relief bill, much of the government will shut down:

U.S. faces risk of government shutdown as Trump balks at COVID-19 relief deal

Americans on Wednesday faced the prospect of a government shutdown during a pandemic as outgoing President Donald Trump, angry at his fellow Republicans in Congress, demanded dramatic changes to a $2.3 trillion government funding and coronavirus aid package. . . .

[The bill] also pays for government operations through September 2021, so if Trump blocks it large parts of the U.S. government will start to shut down next week for lack of funds.

Stories have speculated on whether Trump will hold out until the last minute to use a pocket veto, but there’s a much tighter deadline:

Current federal funding is due to expire on Monday if Trump does not sign the bill into law. He is scheduled to leave for Florida on Wednesday afternoon for the Christmas holiday.

(He’s already down in Florida now.)

But what if this is what Trump actually wants?

Trump has already been responsible for the longest federal shutdown in history, and he had to be dragged kicking and screaming (his default mode anyway) into agreeing to reopen. This time, from his perspective, there is no downside to shutting the country down. After all, the country was so unappreciative, so ungrateful, that it refused to give him the second term he deserves, and after all he’s done for them too. (Yes, he also believes he won in a landslide. The ability to hold two contradictory thoughts is a skill he prides himself on.)

He may even think that if the government is shut down, Congress can’t meet to certify Biden’s election. I’m sure he’s wrong,  as Congress is an essential part of government, but implementing that certification will be more difficult if most of the government isn’t operational.

I can quite easily see Trump chortling gleefully over the prospect of handing over to Biden a government that isn’t working at all.

Congress could override his veto, of course, but I’m not sure there are the votes for this one.

  • December 24, 2020