Biden blames MAGA Republicans for coming shutdown and assault on democracy
Rep/ Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., left, and Rep Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., two ring leaders of the MAGA assault on democracy and two leaders of the push for a government shutdown. At the Capitol in Washington, Sept. 22, 2023. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON—As the federal government headed for a shutdown at midnight, September 30, a disaster instigated by MAGA Republicans, President Joe Biden Thursday warned the nation of the “grave threat to democracy” posed by the MAGA movement and allowed to continue by Republicans who agree with the extreme right or are too fearful and cowardly to act to stop them.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., claims he is not with the extremists who, as he said this week, “want to burn the place down.” They have threatened to remove him from the Speakership if he doesn’t tow their line. By catering to the extreme right Freedom Caucus, however, he is the one who gave them the matches to light the fire.

The chaos they have created is not simply the by-product of an inept Kevin McCarthy or out-of-control extremists not getting their act together. The creation of chaos is the aim of the extreme right. It is only through chaos that they can force through policies they can’t win through democratic and legislative processes.

What the Nazis could not accomplish in Germany in the early 1930s through the legislative process they accomplished by burning down the Reichstag. “Burning the place down,” as McCarthy described the activity of the very right-wingers he has put in charge, is precisely their goal.

Behind the extreme right and egging them on every inch of the way is Donald Trump, who was exposed Thursday by Biden as the threat to democracy that he represents. Criminal elements in the corporate class are also part of the right-wing cabal pushing the nation into a disastrous shutdown this weekend.

A recent episode of the chaos stoked by the right on Capitol Hill came when the Democratic-run Senate approved a continuing resolution, a temporary money bill to keep the government going through mid-November. The vote was 77-19.

But pressure from the Freedom Caucus, the 40-member tail that wags the GOP dog, forced McCarthy to declare the resolution dead on arrival. He didn’t even consider calling for a vote on it.

The Senate’s CR also, to the chagrin of the extreme right, lacks the favorite cuts in social services pushed by the MAGA movement. They want to ban “woke” education, cut funds to feed infants, toddlers, and their mothers, and provide money to resume building Trump’s racist Mexican Wall.

McCarthy hasn’t challenged them because the most important thing in the world, to him, is holding onto his Speakership. He went along with the Freedom Caucus by pigeonholing the Senate CR even before it hit the House floor.

Meanwhile, federal workers are on tenterhooks, with an estimated 737,000 of them—one-third—to be sent home without pay and rest, such as Transportation Security Officers—to toil unpaid until and unless Congress gets its act together. Agencies are already distributing shutdown plans.

Unions and workers are putting pressure on lawmakers to stop the shutdown. The Government Employees, the largest federal worker union, posted online which constituents could e-mail to lawmakers.

“Government shutdowns hurt our economy, our communities, the American people, and the federal workers who have dedicated their lives to serving their fellow Americans,” it says. “A shutdown will make it harder–if not impossible–for Americans to access important government services. It will force hundreds of thousands of federal employees to work without a paycheck or be locked out of their jobs altogether.”

“It’s wrong, and Congress shouldn’t let it happen. Americans do our jobs every day, even when it’s tough or inconvenient. Do yours. Pass government funding and prevent a government shutdown.”


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.