Politics

Trump Calls For Government Shutdown In Tweets

| by Michael Doherty

In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump suggested the U.S. needs a government shutdown, and also advocated for a change in the rules for a majority in the Senate.

In the Twitter posts, Trump declared that the U.S. needs a "good shutdown" to resolve the parties' disagreements over federal spending, according to The New York Times. He also said he wanted to "change the rules" so Republicans would no longer need a supermajority of 60 votes to bypass a Democratic filibuster.

"The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there!" Trump tweeted on the morning of May 2. "We either elect more Republican senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!"

Trump's suggestion of a government shutdown led to shocked reactions from Democratic lawmakers, CNN reports.

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"The president just called for a government shutdown this fall," Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii tweeted in response. "No president has ever done anything like this."

Longstanding rules in the Senate require 60 votes to bypass a filibuster and Trump's suggestion to "change the rules to 51%" would hypothetically give Republicans the ability to break a filibuster with only a simple majority.

This "nuclear option" was seen most recently in the confirmation of Trump's Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch.

Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate and the House, but their majority is not large enough to break a Democratic filibuster without eight Democrats taking the Republicans' side.

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White House budget director Mick Mulvaney stood by the president's call for a shutdown in September, the Daily Mail reports.

"I think that's a defensible position, one we'll deal with in September," said Mulvaney.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, part of the Senate Appropriations Committee, criticized Trump's tweets, saying the president had given "a sour and shameful note to kick off negotiations."

"Governing by tweet and manufacturing a crisis before our work even begins is no way to lead," said Leahy.

Trump's call for a shutdown recalls the shutdown that took place in 2013. During that shutdown, which lasted 16 days, Republicans and Democrats clashed over funding for the Affordable Care Act and 800,000 federal workers had to temporarily stop working.

Polls suggested that 81 percent of Americans did not approve of work stopping from the shutdown -- 53 percent of Americans polled felt Republicans were responsible for the shutdown, while only 29 percent blamed Democrats and former President Barack Obama.

Sources: The New York Times, CNN, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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