Trump: 'If there's a shutdown, there's a shutdown'

With less than 24 hours before the government runs out of money, precipitating a partial shutdown of services, President Donald Trump let the Democrats know that there are limits to what he and the Republican Congress will accept to keep the government operating.

Democrats have been piling up conditions under which they will agree to a budget resolution that funds the government through September 30.  But the difficulty of the negotiations has forced Hill Republicans to offer a one-week extension of funding to keep the government operating.

If Democrats won't accept the stopgap measure, the president is prepared for a government shutdown.


"We'll see what happens. If there's a shutdown, there's a shutdown," Trump told Reuters in an interview, adding that Democrats would be to blame if the federal government was left unfunded.

Congress has until 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday to pass a bill to fund the government or face a shutdown, which would temporarily lay off hundreds of thousands of federal workers.

Republicans introduced a bill on Wednesday to fund government operations at current levels for one more week, giving them time to finish negotiations with Democrats on the plan for the rest of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

Trump said a shutdown would be a "very negative thing" but that his administration was prepared if it was necessary.

In a wide-ranging interview, he defended the one-page tax plan he unveiled on Wednesday from criticism that it would increase the U.S. deficit, saying better trade deals and economic growth would offset the costs.

"We will do trade deals that are going to make up for a tremendous amount of the deficit. We are going to be doing trade deals that are going to be much better trade deals," Trump said.

Trump also said it would be unfair to offer a debt bailout to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, because it was unfair to people in U.S. states.

Democrats have made continued Obamacare payments to insurance companies one condition they've imposed to support a funding bill.  Another is a refusal to allow any money for the president's border wall.  It remains to be seen how far Republicans will go to get the Democrats on board for the short-term funding extension, given that they need 12-15 Democrats in the House voting for the bill for the measure to pass.

Trump's statement may be a gambit to force the Democrats to put up or shut up.  A partial shutdown of government is a crap shoot for both parties, since blame for it would probably be shared equally by Republicans and Democrats.  History shows that the media will almost certainly blame the Republicans – and specifically President Trump – for the impasse, even though in this case, it is the Democrats who are setting impossible conditions for their vote.

My guess is that a stopgap funding bill will be passed near or shortly after midnight tonight.

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