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Trump advocates US government shutdown

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US President Donald Trump. President Donald Trump took the unusual step of advocating a forced shutdown of the federal government Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats ignored White House demands in reaching a budget deal./ AFP

President Donald Trump took the unusual step of advocating a forced shutdown of the federal government Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats ignored White House demands in reaching a budget deal.

After a bruising budget battle which saw fellow Republicans jettison many of Trump’s election promises, the embattled president lashed out, saying maybe the government should not be funded at all.

Trump’s congressional allies have cut a deal with Democrats to fund the government until September, at least delaying the building of a border wall and a host of Trump’s other priorities.

“Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” Trump tweeted.

Previous government shutdowns have cost the US economy tens of billions of dollars and seen government services grind to a halt as thousands of non-essential personnel are temporarily laid off.

Trump could, if he wanted, refuse to sign the bill funding the government up to September, which is still being finalized in Congress.

His comments complicate Republican efforts to paint that budget deal as a victory, thanks largely to an increase in military spending.

Trump also called for a change in congressional rules which require 60 votes in the Senate to pass budget rules — a threshold that makes party compromise necessary.

“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 tweeted.

That would substantially change US politics, making budgets more partisan and poisoning what is left of inter-party cooperation.



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