Congress has until midnight Friday to reach a bipartisan spending deal or face a partial government shutdown. Nancy Pelosi has gained enough support to be re-elected House Speaker, and President Trump is under increased scrutiny following revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) of the 5th district joins the Morning Shift to talk about the future of the Democratic-led House of Representatives and the looming government shutdown.
A federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional
Rep. Mike Quigley: I guess I’d like to see the Supreme Court act — that this is already settled law. The fact that there was a horrible tax law put in place shouldn’t change the basic facts and the basic law that the ACA is important, it’s constitutional. But of course, it had to happen in Texas. And it had to happen at the begin of (Democrats) coming back to take control of the House after eight years in the desert.
President Trump said he would shut down the government over border wall funding
Quigley: It’s instructive to remember a couple things: the Republicans have been in the majority the last eight years. This would be the second major shutdown in that time — they’ve chased away two of their speakers in the meantime — and there have been two other minor shutdowns. The Republicans control both chambers. They don’t need a single Democratic vote to do this, yet the president still says this would be a shutdown based on our not willing to compromise. And he talks about the fact that this relates to the border wall. Last year, 2018 funding provided over $1 billion for border security — that money has yet to be spent. There has been talk on the Senate side among Democrats of extending that and having something a little over another $1 billion a year for border security. I think probably because the president is having a horrible month publicly and legally, this is his grand distraction. And I don’t think he cares what it means to shut a large part of the government down over the Christmas holiday.
On building consensus within the Democratic caucus
Quigley: Coming from Chicago with its tradition of trying to get things done, I’d like to think — obviously I have a liberal bent — but I still want to get things done. I want to fund the government, I want to drive resources back to Chicago. And all the things that we care about, whether it be climate change or gun violence or health care or education — they all require a consensus to get them done.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election
Quigley: The special counsel’s purpose and his role is to decide who to bring to justice. The House Select Committee on intelligence investigation — of which I am a member and have a been a part for two years — was prematurely halted on a partisan basis by the Republicans. Its purpose is to find out exactly what the Russians did, who conspired with them, how to prevent it in the future and how to inform the American public. So if I’m going to be fair and consistent… when I tell my Republican colleagues, “you never should have shut down this investigation” — when I tell them to leave the Mueller investigation alone, it is only fair for me to say to those on my side of the isle the same thing. Let’s get this work done.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to hear the entire conversation.
GUEST: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL 5th)
LEARN MORE: ‘There’s no plan’: Congress skips town as shutdown nears (Politico 12/13/18)
How Nancy Pelosi won U.S. Rep. Bill Foster’s backing for House speaker (Chicago Tribune 12/13018)
5th Congressional District Democratic nominee: Mike Quigley (Chicago Sun-Times 10/13/18)