Trump urges future government shutdown,
easier passage of laws
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[May 03, 2017]
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President
Donald Trump came to office promising that he would produce so much
winning that Americans would be sick of it. As he struggles to produce
wins, some signs of frustration are starting to appear.
Democrats' gleeful declarations that they outsmarted Republicans in a
battle over a spending bill that avoided a government shutdown drew the
ire of the president. Democrats were happy that funding for Trump's
Mexico border wall was not included.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that maybe a government shutdown would not be
so bad and that Republicans should consider changing Senate rules to
make it easier to pass spending and other bills without any Democratic
"Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!" he
His comment frustrated some of his fellow Republicans in Congress, who
chafed at the suggestion that the White House could dictate Senate
rules, or send a message that a shutdown, which costs the economy
millions, was desirable.
"I think it would be a good thing at this point if the iPhone was put in
a safe, locked away and maybe returned in four years," Republican
Senator Bob Corker, who was once on the short list to be Trump's vice
president, told reporters.
"That's just not constructive. Those are the kinds of things that should
never happen, and... it's damaging to our credibility. It's damaging to
trust here within the (Capitol) building," Corker said.
Trump marked his 100th day in office on Saturday and used last week to
argue that he has made major progress in rolling back federal
regulations and improving the climate for job creation.
But with his healthcare reform effort flagging, Trump has been unable to
get a major piece of legislation through a Congress controlled by his
own Republican Party, leaving him without a signature victory.
With Democrats celebrating concessions they extracted in the spending
bill, Trump used a Rose Garden ceremony honoring the Air Force Academy's
football team to declare he and Republicans got more from the
legislation than might appear.
"After years of partisan bickering and gridlock, this bill is a clear
win for the American people," Trump said.
THREE NEWS BRIEFINGS
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney gave three news briefings to
promote Trump gains from the bill, the first on Monday night and the
second on Tuesday morning in a conference call for reporters.
The conference call was marred by technical issues at times, with
Mulvaney straining to be heard over orchestra music that mysteriously
"All right," Mulvaney told reporters at one point. "I'll try to answer
it one more time, and clearly we're having a lot of background noise
[to top of second column]
President Donald Trump presents the U.S. Air Force Academy football
team with the Commander-in-Chief trophy in the Rose Garden of the
White House in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Later, in the White House briefing room, Mulvaney said he understood
Trump's frustration, accusing Democrats of trying to "spike the
football" by publicly celebrating the budget deal as a Democratic
victory in an effort to make the president look bad after he
negotiated in good faith.
He said Democrats were thwarted by Republicans in their attempt to
add bailout money for Puerto Rico.
"We've got a lot to do between now and September. I don't anticipate
a shutdown in September, but if the Democrats aren't going to behave
any better than they have in the last couple of days, it may be
inevitable," Mulvaney said.
Democrats quickly denounced Trump's musings about closing the
"Here we saw Democrats and Republicans working together in the best
traditions of the Senate, and the president disparages it in a way
that's destructive," Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would
debate the funding bill this week and that most Republicans did not
favor a change in the rules to make it easier to pass legislation
without Democratic support.
Trump said his fellow Republicans had to acquiesce to Democratic
demands in spending bill because the party's majority was too slim
to win the 60 Senate votes needed to advance the legislation without
Republicans hold 52 of the Senate's 100 seats.
"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 either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change
the rules now to 51%," Trump wrote on Twitter
Republicans last forced a government closure in 2013 for 17 days.
Democrats said Trump would shoulder the blame for any shutdown now.
(Additional reporting by David Morgan, Richard Cowan and Patricia
Zengerle; Writing by Steve Holland and Susan Heavey; Editing by Tim
Ahmann, Chizu Nomiyama, Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)
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