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Sen. Eric Schmitt blames Democrats, but then votes against preventing the shutdown | Opinion

It was a relief over the weekend to see Congress do its job and avoid a government shutdown — and a disappointment to see two of our area Republican senators, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Eric Schmitt of Missouri, vote against the bill to keep federal operations running for another 45 days.

We have already criticized Marshall for his cavalier attitude about the likely effects of a shutdown. But Schmitt didn’t just vote against the bill. He misled his constituents about who was responsible for the whole mess.

That happened Saturday morning, when House Speaker Kevin McCarthy disclosed his plan to pass a bill that fully funds the government but excludes any new aid to Ukraine. That last provision drew complaints from Democrats who want the U.S. to continue its support of that country’s defense against the Russian invasion.

Schmitt immediately jumped into action.

“Senate Democrats,” he wrote online, “are willing to shut the U.S. government over more Ukrainian spending.” Four hours later he posted again: “Democrats are trying to shut down the government over Ukraine.

The problem? It didn’t turn out to be remotely true.

Every single Senate Democrat — with the exception of Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who didn’t vote at all — swallowed their reservations about Ukraine and supported the bill. Most Republican senators also supported the bill, but less overwhelmingly: Schmitt and Marshall were two of nine GOP members in opposition.

It was Schmitt who was “willing to shut the U.S. government,” in other words. Not Democrats.

It is notable that in the final hours Congress had left to make a deal and keep the government running, Schmitt chose to falsely divert blame for the problem instead of contribute to a solution. The least he could have done was get his facts straight.