Shut­down would fix Se­nate mess says Trump in tweet

Cape Breton Post - - World -

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted Tues­day that the U.S. govern­ment “needs a good shut­down” in Septem­ber to fix a “mess” in the Se­nate, sig­nalling his dis­plea­sure with a tem­po­rary spend­ing bill that Repub­li­can con­gres­sional lead­ers — and Trump him­self — are prais­ing as a ma­jor ac­com­plish­ment.

On Twit­ter and then in a White House cer­e­mony, Trump is­sued con­tra­dic­tory state­ments ahead of key votes in Congress on the bud­get bill to keep the govern­ment run­ning into the fall. Af­ter ad­vo­cat­ing for a fu­ture shut­down on Twit­ter, he hailed the bud­get agree­ment as a boost for the mil­i­tary and bor­der se­cu­rity.

“This is what win­ning looks like,” Trump said dur­ing a cer­e­mony hon­our­ing the Air Force Academy football team. He said, “Our Repub­li­can team had its own vic­tory — un­der the radar,” he and called the bill “a clear win for the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

Trump’s em­brace of a po­ten­tial govern­ment shut­down came days af­ter he ac­cused Se­nate Democrats of seek­ing such an out­come and ob­struct­ing ma­jor­ity Repub­li­cans dur­ing re­cent bud­get ne­go­ti­a­tions. Law­mak­ers an­nounced Sun­day they had reached an agree­ment to avoid a shut­down un­til Oct. 1 — a deal that does not in­clude sev­eral pro­vi­sions sought by Trump, in­clud­ing money for a bor­der wall.

It also came at the start of a week in which the House is con­sid­er­ing a pos­si­ble vote on a health care over­haul that would re­peal and re­place Barack Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act.

Congress is ex­pected to vote this week on the $1.1 tril­lion spend­ing bill.

Af­ter Trump’s tweets, House

Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis­con­sin de­fended the bud­get plan, telling re­porters, “No longer will our mil­i­tary be held hostage for do­mes­tic spend­ing.” He said the spend­ing pack­age was an “im­por­tant first step in the right di­rec­tion” that in­cluded a “big down pay­ment” on bor­der se­cu­rity and the mil­i­tary.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky said the fund­ing bill is the prod­uct of bi­par­ti­san ne­go­ti­a­tions, and that it “de­liv­ers some im­por­tant con­ser­va­tive wins, in­clud­ing crit­i­cal steps for­ward on de­fence and bor­der se­cu­rity.”

The White House on Mon­day had praised the deal as a win for the na­tion’s mil­i­tary, health ben­e­fits for coal min­ers and other Trump pri­or­i­ties, a mes­sage that Trump re­it­er­ated in

the Rose Gar­den on Tues­day.

But the pres­i­dent ap­peared to in­di­cate un­hap­pi­ness with the bud­get plan when he kicked off the day by tak­ing to 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!” He added, “We ei­ther elect more Repub­li­can Se­na­tors in 2018 or change the rules now to 51 (per cent). Our coun­try needs a good ‘shut­down’ in Septem­ber to fix mess!”

That con­tra­dicted Trump’s mes­sage less than a week ago.

Last Thurs­day, Trump had tweeted that Democrats were threat­en­ing to close na­tional parks as part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions “and shut down the govern­ment. Ter­ri­ble!” He also tweeted at the time that he

had promised to “re­build our mil­i­tary and se­cure our bor­der. Democrats want to shut down the govern­ment. Pol­i­tics!”

His Tues­day tweets about Se­nate pro­ce­dures came af­ter Se­nate Repub­li­cans recently triggered the “nu­clear op­tion” to elim­i­nate the 60-vote fil­i­buster thresh­old for con­firm­ing Supreme Court Jus­tice Neil Gor­such. That change al­lowed the Se­nate to hold a fi­nal vote to ap­prove Gor­such with a sim­ple ma­jor­ity, an ap­proach that has not been used for leg­is­la­tion.

McCon­nell has said he’s not in­clined to change Se­nate rules on the fil­i­buster and leg­is­la­tion. “There’s not a sin­gle sen­a­tor in the ma­jor­ity who thinks we ought to change the leg­isla­tive fil­i­buster. Not one,” he said in April.


U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump talks with re­porters as he walks to the Oval Of­fice of the White House in Wash­ing­ton, Tues­day.

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