Politics

Trump Threatens 'Good' Shutdown To Pass Policy Goals

| by Ray Brown

President Donald Trump suggested that Republicans force a "good" government shutdown in September to avoid filibuster interference from Democrats.

Republicans avoided a government shutdown in late April by agreeing to a budget that compromised on two of Trump's most prominent and controversial immigration policy goals -- building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border and cutting federal money to so-called "sanctuary cities."

Trump has not yet signed the budget deal but is expected to do so, despite his misgivings about the compromises.

"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 wrote on Twitter. "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!"

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Republicans have the majority in the Senate with 52 votes. But to break a filibuster, 60 votes are needed. Changing the Senate voting rules to require only a simple majority would dramatically alter the way the U.S. Senate functions and greatly diminish the need for bipartisanship, according to Politico.

According to a CNN/ORC poll, 72 percent of Americans want Trump to use bipartisanship to reach policy deals, rather than do just what he thinks is right for the country. The majority of Republicans -- 57 percent -- also believe Trump should reach bipartisan compromises.

Democrats criticized Trump for suggesting changing the Senate rules to get his policy goals passed.

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

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In 2013, the Democratic-controlled Senate under President Barack Obama changed the filibuster rules so that only a simple majority would be needed to approve the president's cabinet appointments, according to The Guardian.

The rules were changed after the Republican Party repeatedly blocked Obama's administration picks.

"For the first time in the history of our republic, Republicans have routinely used the filibuster to prevent President Obama from appointing an executive team and from appointing judges," said then-Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "The need for change is so, so very obvious. It's clearly visible. It's manifest we have to do something to change things."

Obama praised the rule change and said it was necessary to fix an "unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress."

"A simple majority vote no longer seems to be sufficient for anything, even routine business, in what is supposed to be the world's foremost deliberative body," Obama said in November, 2013. "Today's pattern of obstruction, it just isn't' normal, it's not what our founders envisioned."

Sources: Politico, CNN, The Guardian, Donald J. Trump/Twitter (2), Brian Schatz/Twitter/ Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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