The Obama administration would like to claim that its unprecedented, spiteful, “shutdown” activities — spending money they don’t have in order to make sure the shutdown hurts — are somehow legally required. But they have never released any legal opinions to explain why a lack of spending authority even permits — much less requires — them to pay people to “make life as difficult as possible”, particularly when such has never been done before.
Moreover, by ending some of their most egregious shutdown theater, the Obama administration is conceding that those activities are not in fact required.
For example, one of the first instances of shutdown spite to come to light was the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, which has been operated by volunteers at no cost to the government since 1980. Since it costs the government nothing, the Farm was never affected by government shutdowns before. But in the Obama shutdown, the federal government rented barricades to close the Farm. After public outcry, the Obama administration is allowing the Farm to re-open, proving that the administration never needed to close the Farm in the first place.
Also, the Obama administration will now allow states to pay to keep National Parks open, something they rejected as impossible just a week ago.