White House Looks To Soften Shutdown Impact As It Braces For Political Fallout

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP

The Trump administration is looking to soften the blow of the impending government shutdown, a sign it’s worried its impact could hurt them politically.

“We’re going to manage a shutdown differently, we’re not going to weaponize it,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters late Friday morning, less than 13 hours before the government is set to shut down.

“The military will still go to work. They will not be paid. … folks will still be fighting the fire out west. They will not get paid,” he continued. “Parks will be open this time and they weren’t before. … The post office will be open, the TSA will be open.”

Those moves come as a clear sign that the Trump administration is trying to limit the shutdown’s impact on voters (and not screw up their vacation plans) so as to minimize the political fallout of a government shutdown in a city where the GOP has unified control of the government.

While it remains unclear who will take the brunt of the blame for a shutdown, early polls indicate the public will place the blame mostly on Trump and Republicans. A Quinnipiac survey released Thursday found that just 34 percent of Americans would blame Democrats for a shutdown, 32 would blame congressional Republicans and 21 percent would blame Trump.

Senate Democrats have dug in their heels in demanding support for a bipartisan compromise for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and it’s not even clear Senate Republicans have 50 votes to back the plan to keep the government open for another month that the House passed Thursday night, much less the 60 votes they need.

Mulvaney also accused Democrats of “hypocrisy” for demanding DACA as part of a funding deal after opposing the 2013 shutdown — though he himself was instrumental in pushing for that shutdown in an effort to gut Obamacare as a member of the House Freedom Caucus at the time.

“This is exactly what they accused the Republicans of doing in 2013,” he said.

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