White House Makes Demands With Shutdown Looming

Trump is proving to be a wildcard in spending bill negotiations
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2017 2:45 PM CDT
Trump Is Wildcard in Potential Government Shutdown
Experts are having a hard time predicting the chances of a government shutdown next week thanks to the unprecedented wildcard that is President Trump.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Once or twice a year recently, the federal government threatens to shut down. But the Washington Post reports this year's version of the crisis—the deadline to pass a spending bill is midnight April 28—has a brand-new wrinkle: President Trump. According to the New Yorker, things had been going pretty well to avoid a government shutdown, with Republicans and Democrats negotiating toward a compromise bill. Then on Friday, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said either the bill includes Trump's border wall and defense spending increase or it must defund a major part of the Affordable Care Act. (Interestingly, Mulvaney was also involved in the last government shutdown in October 2013, which also hinged on defunding the ACA.)

The problem now is that even if Democrats and Republicans in Congress reach a compromise that allows them to pass a spending bill, there's no guarantee Trump will sign it. For example, Democrats don't want the border wall built, and conservative Republicans aren't too keen on paying for it either. Adding to the uncertainty, the deadline to avoid the shutdown falls on Trump's 100th day in office, and he could be desperate for a big win by the deadline. The New Yorker reports one top White House official actually "sounded excited" by the prospect of a shutdown. For his part, Trump says he thinks "we're in good shape" to avoid a shutdown, according to Forbes. And here's the kicker: Even if a spending bill somehow gets passed, it only funds the government through September. (Read more government shutdown stories.)

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