Credit Where Credit Is Due–However Temporary It Might Be
Senator Johnny Isakson on Thursday broke with his Republican colleagues and joined five other Republican Senators to vote for a Democratic-backed bill designed to end the 34-day government shutdown brought about by President Trump’s imposing the closure as blackmail to try to force Congress to pay for building a wall on our southern border.
The bill was one of two voted on by the Senate aimed at ending the impasse over the partial government shutdown. Both were known to be dead on arrival but the vote was considered necessary to signal an end to any prospect Trump would get his way on a demand for $5 billion to start construction and pave the way for serious negotiations to appropriate funds to allow government agencies to resume operations.
The vote on the Democrats’ bill was 52 to 44, short of the 60 votes needed to pass.
The vote on the Trump-backed bill was 50 to 47, meaning, the Democratic bill got more votes than the Republican one.
Media reports say Isakson had expressed frustration about the human toll of the 34-day shutdown and had announced plans to work with a bipartisan group to find a way out of the impasse.
In IndieDems’ opinion, a strong incentive for Isakson to come out against the shutdown derived from the toll it was taking on one of his major corporate constituents: Delta Airlines. And a unique event reinforced his concern: the Super Bowl scheduled to be played in Atlanta on February 3. Screwed-up air traffic and a royal mess getting Super Bowl fans into and out of Atlanta airport was the last thing Isakson wanted.
The profits of Delta Airlines and the NFL owners probably provided Isakson more reason to go against Trump than the combined suffering of 800,000 federal workers, their families, and the federal contractors and small businesses who were also taking a hit from the fallout of the shutdown.
But for now, let’s give the Senator the benefit of the doubt. He did the right thing. Maybe the disaster of Trump’s shutdown will prod Isakson to move away from his lapdog support for Trump and adopt a more independent position in which the interests of the average Georgian, not Donald Trump’s orders, guide Isakson’s decision-making.