President Trump on Tuesday suggested he would support a government shutdown this fall, despite his administration saying repeatedly in recent weeks such an outcome was never desirable.
Trump, in a pair of tweets, said congressional negotiators only struck a deal on an omnibus spending bill to fund federal agencies through September because of the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Leaders in both parties on Monday expressed contentment with the agreement and optimism it would pass. While the White House did not get everything it wanted in the deal -- namely funding for Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and cuts at domestic agencies -- Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and press secretary Sean Spicer, said at separate press briefings Monday the administration was pleased with the spending bill and it lined up with Trump’s priorities.
“I think the president got a lot out of this,” Spicer said. Later in the day, Mulvaney added, “I’d be hard-pressed to figure out how we’d fund more of the priorities” that Trump supported.
Still, the president appeared unsatisfied, saying, “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” Trump also appeared to endorse eliminating the Senate filibuster and the corresponding 60-vote threshold.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2017
Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., chided the president for failing to separate his "art of the deal" mentality from the functioning of government, noting a slew of services that are delayed during shutdowns.
"There is nothing ‘good’ about a government shutdown that would furlough 800,000 federal employees indefinitely," Beyer said. "I can think of no worse example of leadership than to call and hope for such an unmitigated disaster."
The suggestion that the country needs a shutdown marks a departure from where the administration previously stood.
“You heard Director Mulvaney yesterday saying a shutdown is never desired and neither is it a strategy, and I think we echo that,” Spicer said at a recent briefing. Mulvaney has, however, also indicated that the impact of a shutdown has been “blown out of proportion.”
On Monday, Spicer said he had “every expectation” Trump would sign the omnibus bill if Congress passes it. By making his shutdown threat effective for September, Trump too appeared to indicate he would sign the current legislation. Congress must pass and the president must sign the bill by Friday to avoid a shutdown.
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This story has been updated with comment from Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.