Missouri’s U.S. Senators have responded to President Trump’s Tuesday morning tweet in which he demanded a government shutdown.
Trump was responding to a bipartisan agreement on a spending plan which will keep the government functioning through September.
The compromise reached by Republicans and Democrats calls for an increase in military spending, which has been one of Trump’s priorities.
It also includes provisions favored by Democrats, such as continued funding for health care subsidies under Obamacare as well as money for Planned Parenthood, and for Puerto Rico which is going through a budget crisis.
The spending plan does not include funds for the Mexican border wall that was a signature issue in Trump’s presidential campaign.
Trump’s tweet said the compromise had to be negotiated because Republicans don’t have the 60 votes necessary in the chamber to pass their own plan.
He called for more Republican Senators to be elected in 2018, or for the rules to be changed to 51%. He then said the country needs a good “shutdown” in September “to fix mess”.
Missouri’s U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, a fellow Republican, said he understood Trump’s frustration with the Senate requirement for 60 votes to pass legislation, but cautioned against rushing to blow up the long standing rule.
“In the last 100 years, or the last 50 years, or the last 10 years, we (Republicans) have been in the minority more than we’ve been in the majority” said Blunt. “I think you’d want to be thoughtful about taking away the things that at least require the country to think really hard before you make big change. But I certainly understand the President’s frustration with the process.”
Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, was predictably more critical of Trump’s demand. She was incensed he would call for a shutdown.
“The notion that he would consider this a failure is really troubling” said McCaskill. “And the notion that he thinks it would be better to shut down the government than reach a compromise on spending, a bipartisan compromise. That does not bode well for the next four years. Really irresponsible.”
Earlier in the current Congress, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did change the rules to allow for a simple majority for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. At the time, he said he would not alter the rules for any other legislation.
Blunt thinks Trump is learning how the U.S. system is different from other parliamentary forms of government.
“In most governments in the world, in a parliamentary system, if the government doesn’t function with maximum efficiency, then the next step is you have to have elections and get a new government. Our system wasn’t designed that was. And the President more than probably anybody else now sees that, and understands that every day.”
McCaskill questions why Trump would balk at an agreement that satisfied both sides of the aisle.
“Both sides claimed victory after this deal was struck because it was a compromise. His own White House was claiming victory. So then he turns around and says ‘Let’s shut down the whole government in September’. I don’t think that’s responsible leadership.”
Congress is expected to vote on the compromise deal in the next couple of days.