Trump: The US government needs a good 'shutdown' if Senate rules don't change

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump suggested that the United States needs a "shutdown" in September.
  • Congress is set to pass a bipartisan deal this week to fund the government through Sept. 30.
Trump hits Dems on spending
Trump hits Dems on spending

President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to call for a government shutdown later this year in response to a bipartisan spending deal that looks set to pass Congress this week.

In tweets, the president contended that the agreement — which funds the government through Sept. 30 — shows that Republicans must get more senators elected or change the Senate's rules so they can push spending through with only a majority vote, rather than 60. He then wrote that the country "needs a good 'shutdown' in September" to fix a "mess."

Trump tweet: 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....

Trump continued: 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!

The tweets came after Congress reached a compromise to keep the government open that they appear set to pass with Trump's signature this week. The deal did not include funding for a wall on the Southern border, which Trump initially called for, and includes less money for border security and defense than Trump sought, according to NBC News.

Republicans need Democratic votes to pass the spending bill even though they control both chambers of Congress.

Trump later Tuesday cast the "hotly-contested" budget as a win for the White House, highlighting a military funding increase without a corresponding rise in non-defense spending and a boost in funding for border security.

Just last week, Trump blamed Democrats for what he called a desire to shut down the government, a charge that Democratic leaders denied. He called the possibility of national parks getting closed "terrible."

Since he took office in January, Trump has faced hurdles in pushing his broad agenda, most notably replacing the Affordable Care Act, as he hits the realities of the government's legislative branch. In a Fox News interview Friday, he called congressional rules "archaic."

Earlier this year, Senate Republicans voted to end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, allowing them to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch with only a majority voter. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that most senators do not want to kill the 60-vote threshold needed to stop filibusters on most legislation.

"There is an overwhelming majority on a bipartisan basis that is not interested in changing the way the Senate operates on the legislative calendar," he said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to Trump's tweets at a news conference, saying that "bipartisanship is best summed up by the Rolling Stones: You can't always get what you want." Trump played the band's song to close many campaign rallies.

At a news conference Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress has a "long ways to go" before September but added that he shares Trump's "frustration" with the appropriations process. However, he highlighted what he considered good provisions for Republicans in the bill, including defense and border security spending increases.

"I feel good about the wins we got with the administration in this bill," Ryan said.

It is unclear if Trump truly wants a shutdown, as he has often taken extreme positions on issues before backing off.