Trump Suggests Senate ‘Nuclear Option’ If Government Shutdown Persists

January 21, 2018 Updated: January 22, 2018

President Donald Trump on Sunday morning, Jan. 21, suggested a “nuclear option” in dealing with the government shutdown, which has lasted the weekend.

“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!” the president tweeted at 4:35 a.m. local time.

On Saturday, Trump said that the military is being held hostage.

“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted.

The nuclear option, introduced by the Obama administration, overrides the Senate rule that requires 60 votes for legislation to pass.

In the House of Representatives, Republicans can pass legislation with their own members due to the size of their majority. They passed a bill on Thursday night to move a spending bill forward to keep the federal government open.

That same vote fell short in the Senate, where Republicans have a 51-49 majority. Most legislation requires bipartisan support. In this case, Republicans would need nine Democrats to flip.

“If ordinary rules prevailed, the majority ruled in the Senate, the government would be open as of today,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN.

“It also responds to this constant criticism we hear: ‘Oh, you Republicans control the White House and the House and the Senate, why can’t you just fund the government?'” he said. “It takes 60 votes in the Senate. We cannot open the government without Senate Democrat support.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that he’s against a “nuclear option” to end the budget impasse.

“The Republican Conference opposes changing the rules on legislation,” a representative for McConnell said in a statement Sunday, CNBC reported.

There is a fear among Republicans that if Democrats regain a majority in the Senate, they would be able to dramatically impact policy.

The Republicans used the nuclear option to get Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed last year. In 2013, the Democrats used the nuclear option to confirm Obama Cabinet officials and federal judges below the Supreme Court level.

President Trump’s son, Eric Trump, meanwhile, stated that the Democrats are using the government shutdown “to distract” Americans from the president’s momentum.

“He’s gotten more done in one year than arguably any president in history,” he told Fox News. “Honestly I think [the shutdown’s] a good thing for us, because people see through it.”



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