Will Trump really shut down the government?

Will Trump really shut down the government?

“If we don’t get a border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown.” With those words earlier this week, the president has injected a level of uncertainty that House and Senate Republican leaders were trying to prevent.

So, what is the specter of a government shutdown on Sept. 30 if the president does not get his demands met on immigration, including wall funding? Before answering that question, let’s examine the current political landscape:

  • Based on the reaction from Republican leaders in the House and Senate, a shutdown mere weeks before the election will not occur because they believe they have the president’s support for their plan to fund the government. As reported by the Washington Post, Congress would pass and the president would sign appropriations bills that garner bipartisan support, while agreeing to a short-term funding resolution to take us past the elections where the issue of immigration, among others, will be hashed out.
  • As the president continues to travel across the country to help his hand-selected primary candidates or House members seeking re-election, he will be energized by his supporters and the size of the crowds. It should come as no surprise that immigration will continue to be a dominant theme in his stump speeches.
  • Democratic voters are engaged on the economic and social issues they care deeply about and are enraged at the policies pursued by the administration. As the president continues to press the issue in August and beyond, the Democratic base will push back. The president may then decide to accelerate the timing of this confrontation prior to the election with Democratic leaders, believing that immigration is winning electoral strategy.
  • And most importantly, the White House and the Republicans in Congress and many across the country do not wish to jeopardize the nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

In a tweet Tuesday, as the Senate was passing the seventh appropriations bill, the president wrote: “I don’t care what the political ramifications are, our immigration laws and border security have been a complete and total disaster for decades, and there is no way that the Democrats will allow it to be fixed without a government shutdown ….” The president is either preparing the ground for the day he signs a continuing resolution to fund the government by Sept. 30 that does not include what he demanded or he will use the ultimate legislative ploy to gain political leverage and achieve his demands.


The question remains: Will the president follow through on his threat that will lead to a partial government shutdown? The answer is yes. He will sign the appropriations bills that will make it to his desk, but will refuse to sign the Continuing Resolution to fund the remainder of the government. With less than 100 days before the midterm elections and with the President in full campaign mode, he has loudly broadcast his closing argument.

Nadeam Elshami is policy director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a lobbying law firm that has lobbied on appropriation measures. He was formerly chief of staff for House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar Overnight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes McConnell: Pelosi trying to 'jam' Senate on fourth coronavirus relief bill MORE (D-CA). He has 25 years of experience in Congress, including negotiating policy on behalf of Democratic leadership and forming bipartisan relationships that helped move key pieces of legislation through a gridlocked Congress.