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Trump-“We need a government shutdown”

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Original from The The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Tuesday that the United States needed “a good ‘shutdown’” this fall to force a partisan confrontation over federal spending, and suggested that he might move to reverse longstanding Senate rules that effectively require a supermajority to approve most major pieces of legislation.

The declarations, in a pair of posts on Twitter, appeared aimed at defending a spending package that Congress is likely to clear this week, but that fails to accomplish many of Mr. Trump’s stated goals, including allocating any money to build a wall on the southern border — a project that was his most talked-about campaign promise. Conservative activists have decried the agreement as one that does not address their priorities, but the White House has signaled that the president would accept it rather than set off a government shutdown.

The Twitter messages were also an indication of the degree to which bipartisan negotiations in Congress on the spending bill and others, including a health care overhaul that appeared on Tuesday to be stalled again, have bedeviled Mr. Trump at this early stage of his presidency, forcing him to bow to political realities to which he had insisted he was immune.

“The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there!” Mr. Trump said in one post, an apparent reference to the spending package.

The solution, he said, was either to elect more Republican senators in 2018, the next midterm elections, “or change the rules now to 51%.” That appeared to refer to scrapping the so-called filibuster that allows any senator to insist on a three-fifths vote, rather than a simple majority, to act on legislative matters.

Republicans already moved last month to eliminate the use of the tactic for Supreme Court confirmations, allowing them to move forward with the approval of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch over near-unanimous Democratic opposition.

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

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