Trump: We Might Need a Government Shutdown to Fix Washington

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President Trump defended the much-maligned $1 trillion spending bill forged between Republicans and Democrats last week, saying on Twitter that things might be different when the time came to negotiate the next budget in a few months.

“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 tweeted on Tuesday. “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!”

It’s unusual – perhaps unprecedented – for a president to call for a federal government shutdown, but this is hardly the first time Trump has operated outside of the usual norms and practices. And it’s understandable that he would be irritated by the enormous amount of criticism this bill has gotten from conservative circles, both inside and outside the Beltway. Not to mention the fact that the congressional GOP, as a collective whole, seems to have little interest in going to bat for some of Trump’s more controversial proposals, such as funding the Mexican border wall. Without enough Republicans willing to support the wall, Trump is faced with what amounts to bipartisan opposition to his top agenda priorities.

But this isn’t the first time Trump has advocated lowering the Senate threshold needed to pass legislation. He was a strong proponent of Mitch McConnell’s use of the nuclear option when it came to confirming Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and in a recent interview he said that he’d like to see a 51-vote standard become the norm for the upper chamber. Republicans are hesitant to embrace such a rule change, knowing it could turn into a disaster if and when the Democrats return to power.

The core problem here can be divided into two main issues. One, the Democrats have decided, en masse, that they are not going to lift one finger to help Trump fulfill his signature campaign promises, no matter what he offers in return. Two, there are many Republicans in Congress who want nothing to do with those promises, including the border wall. The divide between the Trump Agenda and the Republican Agenda was obvious during the campaign, and while the two factions have done an admirable job pretending they’re on the same page over the last 100 days, the split is becoming more and more difficult to disguise.

The end result of this inter- and intra-party fighting? More of the same crap voters have been watching with dismay for the last eight years. Which makes you think Trump might have a point: A good old-fashioned shutdown might be just the thing to clean out the stagnant swamp water and convince both Democrats and Republicans to get their minds right.