What's All This About A Government Shutdown?

It’s a new year with new resolutions, new opportunities, and endless potential. As most of us turned the page to 2024 on the calendar, we gave ourselves the hope of a fresh start, a clean slate so that we could make this year better than the last one (ugh, please). The problem is that US politics is still on its same bullshit.

You see, our civic and political leaders didn’t exactly tie up their loose ends before the end of last year, deferring some major decisions with major consequences to the early days of this year—like procrastination, but for an entire country. Some of these issues—like Trump’s access to the ballot under the 14ᵗʰ Amendment—were always going to really count in 2024, but most of these political issues should have been resolved months ago. And now our fresh, pristine 2024 is mired in misery before we’ve even given up on our first resolution.

For example: did you know we have a partial government shutdown happening two weeks from now unless the GOP House and the Democratic Senate agree on a budget to send to Biden’s desk? It’s not your fault; the blame belongs to Speaker Mike “Fourth Choice” Johnson, who resolved last year’s weeks-long budget snafu and House leadership crisis by making like Brave Sir Robin and running away. Rather than actually lead his caucus and either stick to the terms of the debt ceiling deal negotiated by his ousted predecessor or striking new terms amenable to Democrats and his caucus, Johnson chose to kick the can into the early months of 2024, forcing January and February to be filled with frantic negotiations instead of snow, hot chocolate, and boredom, as God intended.

Of course, Johnson couldn’t leave it there: By pushing the government shutdown into 2024—an election year—he also imperiled his new and tenuous hold on the speakership. In the intervening months since he passed the buck via continuing resolution. Johnson has lost multiple members of his caucus to expulsion and retirement, leaving just a 2- vote margin for his majority. If he doesn’t satisfy the whackadoodles of the House GOP with whatever deal he strikes, Johnson could set-off another calamitous fight for the speakership, forcing Congressional staff to play yakety sax over the chamber sound system until a new Speaker is chosen.

But it’s not all Mike Johnson’s fault. Biden and Senate Republicans are also top-tier procrastinators, leaving a resolution for Ukraine funding for 2024. Senate Republicans insist that they won’t support the Ukrainian war for survival against Russia unless Biden commits to inhumane, miserable, and illegal conditions for asylum seekers and immigrants at the southern border. For his part, Biden seems alarmingly ok with racking up as many human rights abuses as he can, possibly conceding to GOP demands to abandon US treaty obligations for asylum seekers and through continuous circumvention of Congress to support Israel’s humanitarian disaster of a campaign in Gaza. This, as his numbers with young voters continue to collapse. All in all, nobody looks good here!

The only upside is, once we can clear the deck on the festering remains of 2023, wecan give ourselves a nice long breather. There’s nothing else to occupy us until…oh fuck, the Iowa Caucus is at the end of this month. Super Tuesday is in 10 weeks. The Supreme Court is going to make some sort of decision on the 14th Amendment.

You know what, forget it. 2024 is already over. Here’s to 2025, the year politics is solved. Happy new year!


Kaitlin Byrd
Kaitlin Byrd
Knows too much, thinks even more. Has infinite space in her heart for tea and breakfast for dinner. Really from New York, so always ready to cut a bitch.