Donald Trump says Democrats want a government shutdown

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Washington: The Democrats want a shutdown of the federal government to diminish the “great success” of tax cuts and the booming economy, said US President Donald Trump after his meeting with top Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer failed to reach a deal with the Opposition over spending.

Trump said that chances were “not looking good” that talks in Congress would break an impasse over spending and avert a US government shutdown.

“Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy,” Trump said in a tweet late last night.

“Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border,” Trump said in an indication of the consequences of a government shutdown.

Trump’s tweet was an indication of the inability of the Republicans and the Democrats to arrive at an agreement to fund the government expenses for a short period of one month.

The House of Representatives has already passed it, but it is facing a major hurdle in the Senate, where the Republicans needs at least 60 votes against 51 in its kitty, thus requiring the support of at least nine Democratic Senators.

Earlier, Trump held a last-minute meeting with Schumer to avert a government shutdown due to lack of funds. The meeting was held at the request of Trump as part of his efforts to reach a deal with Democrats on at least a short-term extension of government funding, which needs Congressional approval and the current authorisation ends today.

“We had a long and detailed meeting. We discussed all of the major outstanding issues, we made some progress, but we still have a good number of disagreements. The discussions will continue,” Senate Minority Leader Schumer said soon after his meeting with Trump at the White House.

In the absence of such an authorisation, functioning of the federal government would come to a standstill, with hundreds and thousands of its employees forced to stop work. The last time that a government shutdown happened was in 2013. It was for more than a fortnight.

At the Capitol, the Democratic Senators told reporters that the President asked Schumer to work with the Republican Congressional leadership to sort out their differences.

“The president told him to go back and talk to (House) Paul Ryan and (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell and work it out,” Senator John Cornyn told reporters.

Trump, who was scheduled to fly down to Florida to spend his weekend in Mar-a-Lago, postponed his visit in view of an imminent government shutdown.

Earlier in the day, Director of Office of Management of Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters that efforts are being made to have the government shutdown less impactful than it was in 2013.

“We’re going to manage the shutdown differently. We are not going to weaponise it. We’re not going to try and hurt people, especially people having to work for this federal government. But we still need Congress to appropriate the funds,” he said.

Giving an insight into the planning purpose, Mulvaney said the military will still go to work; the border will still be patrolled; fire folks will still be fighting the fires; and the parks will be open. But in each of these cases people will not be paid. Fanny and Freddy will be open, the post office will be open, the Transportation Security Administration will be open, but again all of these people will be working for nothing, which is simply not fair, he said.

Notably the House of Representative has already approved a short-term extension of government funding for about a month, but the legislation is now stuck in the Senate. Mulvaney slammed the Democrats.

“The president stands ready to sign that bill to keep the government functioning and afloat. It appears, unfortunately, that Senate Democrats are entrenched in forcing a shutdown. I think there is obviously a lot of hypocrisy in this town. I think there’s some ironies to point out,” he said.livemint