Politics

Trump Encourages GOP To End Filibuster Rule

| by Ray Brown

President Donald Trump is being criticized by members of both parties for calling for a "good shutdown" of government in September to advance more of his policy goals without compromise.

"Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!" Trump wrote on Twitter. "The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51 [percent]."

Under current Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to stop a filibuster, rather than just a simple majority.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York blasted Trump as a divisive leader for slamming a rare, bipartisan compromise.

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"Here we saw Democrats and Republicans working together in the best traditions of the Senate, and the president disparages it in a way that’s destructive," Schumer said, according to Reuters.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said that although the filibuster can be frustrating for lawmakers, it also helps keep government legislation in check.

"He apparently hasn't served in a legislative body because had we not had the filibuster rule this country would have been gone a long time ago -- would have gone straight to socialism," Hatch told CNN.

Hatch also said that Trump would be mistaken if Republicans would win voters by forcing a government shutdown.

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"I think that may be wishful thinking on his part because shutting down the government is not going to work. Republicans always get blamed even though the Democrats are [a] big part of the shutdown and that just doesn't work," Hatch explained.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington called Trump's comments "dangerous and irresponsible."

"President Trump may not like what he sees in this budget deal, but it's dangerous and irresponsible to respond by calling for a shutdown. Hopefully Republicans in Congress will do for the next budget what they did for this one: ignore President Trump's demands, work with Democrats, and get it done," Murray said in a statement, according to CNN.

Some conservatives dissatisfied with the current budget proposal speculate that Republican lawmakers would win over more voters by being more persistent on policy demands and giving up fewer concessions to Democrats.

One Republican calling for Republicans to go harder on Democrats for the party's policy demands is Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who heads the Senate Conservatives Fund, according to McClatchy.

"Republican leaders promised things would be different if Republicans won the White House, but this bill proves that nothing has changed," Cuccinelli said. "This is why it is so important for Republican voters to elect true conservatives in the upcoming midterm elections."

Republican Sen. Jon Cornyn of Texas criticized that strategy.

"I just don't agree," he said. "The rules have saved us from a lot of really bad policy, even when we were in the minority."

Sources: Reuters, CNN, McClatchy / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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