Trump advocates government shutdown as Congress faces another deadline

Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Congress is risking another federal government shutdown as House Republicans on Tuesday are expected to approve a temporary bill loaded with extra military spending that will almost certainly face a filibuster from Democrats -- and some Republicans -- in the Senate.

Neither party appears to want a repeat of last month's three-day shutdown, but President Donald Trump seemed game for closing the government again if he could blame it on Democrats. Funds for federal operations expire Thursday.

"I'd love to see a shutdown if we can't get this stuff taken care of," Trump said during a White House event on gang violence that quickly turned to immigration issues. "If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don't want safety ... let's shut it down."

Trump's brash comments drew instant rebuke from lawmakers, including one of the Republicans attending the roundtable event.

"We don't need a government shutdown on this," said Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., whose district in the Washington suburbs is home to many federal workers. Both parties want to resolve the issues, she added.

Trump interrupted her. "You can say what you want."

"I would shut it down over this issue," he added, later, in response to a question from a reporter.

The president's comments were oddly out of sync with the action on Capitol Hill. Unlike last month, when Democrats briefly blocked a federal spending bill to try to push Republicans to compromise on immigration, neither party has linked the two issues this time.

Lawmakers have been negotiating over possible immigration compromises in the Senate. And in both houses, some lawmakers are hoping a broader budget deal can be struck in time to prevent another stopgap measure after what would be the fifth short-term funding bill of this fiscal year.

The sticking point has been that Republicans want higher military spending and Democrats oppose that unless there is additional money for domestic accounts.


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