Trump: US ‘needs a good shutdown’

President Trump on Tuesday called for a "good shutdown" in September to fix the "mess” in government.

He also expressed frustration that legislation needs 60 votes in the Senate because of the filibuster, saying it would be necessary to elect more Republicans or "change the rules."

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"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%. Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!" he wrote in a series of tweets.

Trump's unprecedented comments appear to reflect frustration with the spending deal Congress is poised to approve this week. The legislation would fund the government through September and represents the first major bipartisan legislation of Trump's presidency. 

Democrats have argued that they won most of the battles surrounding the bill, and several media accounts have suggested that Trump and the White House were losers in the negotiations.

A New York Times headline on the deal said: "Winners and Losers of the Spending Deal (Spoiler Alert: Trump Lost)." 

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney expressed frustration with that analysis during a press briefing after Trump's remarks.
 
He and House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) both argued in separate briefings that Republicans had won important victories in the talks, including money for border security and increased defense spending.
  
Trump himself said, "this bill is a clear win for the American people" during a ceremony honoring the Air Force Academy football team.
 
The measure will spare the president a damaging government shutdown, but it left out many of his biggest policy requests. 
 
It does not include funding for Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border or include language stripping federal money from so-called sanctuary cities, both of which the White House demanded at the outset of negotiations. 
 
The White House also backed off a threat to withhold ObamaCare subsidy payments to insurance companies. 
 
Trump was forced to abandon those demands after Democrats in the Senate threatened to block the spending bill if they were included. 
 
The president did secure increased military spending in the 2017 budget deal, breaking with longstanding practice that a boost in Pentagon spending be accompanied by dollar-for-dollar spike in domestic spending. 
 
Ryan trumpeted that provision as a “game-changer.” 

Mulvaney also defended the president's threat of a shutdown in the fall. 

“The president’s tweet was that we might need a shutdown at some point to drive home that this place — that Washington needs to be fixed,” he told reporters. “I think that's a defensible position, one we'll deal with in September.”
 
Mulvaney argued the current deal running through September was a White House victory because Democrats were determined to cause a shutdown that would hurt Trump. 
 
“They wanted a shutdown. They wanted to try and make this president look like he could not govern," he said. "They wanted to make this president look like he did not know what he was doing. And he beat them on that at the very, very highest level.
 
"They were desperate to show that we were not reasonable and we completely destroyed that narrative by negotiating this deal," he said.
 
Trump’s comments are likely to irk top Republican lawmakers, who have been frustrated by Trump’s repeated attempts to intervene in the legislative process. 
 
"Our voters, the people who elected Republican majorities in both Houses and elected this president, did not vote for us in order to shut down the government. They voted for us to govern, as hard as it is," Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines MORE (Texas), the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, said from the floor hours after Trump's tweets.
 
Cornyn did not mention the president or his tweets, but his remarks about the importance of avoiding a shutdown and the strength of the filibuster were notable coming shortly after Trump's tweets.
 
"We were elected to govern. Yes, governing is hard. It's hard by design. ... But that's the way our founding fathers designed our constitutional system," he said. 
 
If GOP lawmakers are frustrated with Trump, however, the feeling may be mutual.
 
The businessman-turned-president has vented frustration with the slow pace of work on Capitol Hill. 
 
“I’m disappointed that it doesn’t go quicker,” Trump told Fox News last week when asked about the Republican effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 
 
Democrats, for their part, seized on Trump's comments to fire back at the president.

 

- Updated at 12:58 p.m.