The federal government, as you’re no doubt aware of by now, shut down last Friday night. The House of Representatives had passed a spending bill to keep the government open, but the Senate could not come to an agreement in time, although they did hold a vote on a spending measure. The Senate has still not come to an agreement as of Sunday, although they should hold another vote soon.
The differences between involved parties on how to best go forward didn’t go away once the government shutdown, and now, there’s been a perhaps surprising difference of opinion exposed between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the president himself.
McConnell and Trump have found themselves at odds in the past, most notably over the fate of the GOP’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump blamed the failure of those efforts on McConnell in a series of tweets, with the two of them eventually trying to downplay their feud by holding a joint press conference.
This time around, the two men differ in their opinions about employing the “nuclear option” as a way to move beyond the present budget stalemate that’s prompted the government to shut down.
Early Sunday, Trump tweeted a message reading:
‘Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!’
To begin with, no, Democrats do not just want undocumented immigrants to “pour into our nation unchecked.” Democrats wouldn’t support past GOP spending bills because they didn’t include protections for the hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. These people had been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, but the Trump administration has moved to end that program.
There’s a significant difference between Democrats’ actual stance and what Trump is asserting that their stance is.
As for Trump’s proposal to use the “nuclear option” and make it so that only 51 votes are needed to pass a budget bill and not the present 60, the Senate has actually used such a tactic in the past, just not in the case of budget bills.
Early last year, the Senate changed the rules so that Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch could be confirmed with only 51 votes.
This time around, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not on board with the idea to again change Senate rules.
Reuters reports that, according to a spokesperson for the Senator, “The Republican Conference opposes changing the rules on legislation.”
It’s not even a given that Republicans would have the votes to pass spending legislation if they did change the rules, with a handful of Republicans having voted with the Democrats on the legislation that’s already been proposed.
A handful of Democrats voted with the Republicans, but not enough to put it over the edge.
Meanwhile, the Trump White House has proven as unhelpful as the president’s tweet suggests, with their major contribution so far to the negotiations being a statement calling Democrats “obstructionist losers.”
Featured Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images