Trump: US needs govt shutdown to fix mess

President Donald Trump getting his very own jersey from the US Air Force Academy's football team on Tuesday. He used a Rose Garden ceremony honouring the team to declare that he and Republicans had got more from the recently passed spending Bill than
President Donald Trump getting his very own jersey from the US Air Force Academy's football team on Tuesday. He used a Rose Garden ceremony honouring the team to declare that he and Republicans had got more from the recently passed spending Bill than might appear. But he also voiced his frustration on Twitter over the blocking of some of his funding demands.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump came to office promising he would produce so much winning that Americans would grow sick of it. As he struggles to produce wins, some signs of frustration are starting to appear.

Democrats' gleeful declarations that they outsmarted Republicans in a battle over a US$1.1 trillion (S$1.5 trillion) spending Bill that avoided a government shutdown drew the ire of the President. The bipartisan deal did not approve funding for Mr Trump's Mexico border wall, among other White House demands.

Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday that Republicans should consider changing Senate rules to make it easier to pass spending and other Bills without any Democratic support.

"(E)ither elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!" he wrote.

His comment frustrated some of his fellow Republicans in Congress, who chafed at the suggestion that the White House could dictate Senate rules, or send a message that a shutdown, which costs the economy millions, was desirable.

"I think it would be a good thing at this point if the iPhone was put in a safe, locked away and maybe returned in four years," Republican Senator Bob Corker, who was once on the short list to be Mr Trump's vice-president, told reporters. "That's just not constructive. Those are the kinds of things that should never happen, and... it's damaging to our credibility," Mr Corker said.

Mr Trump marked his 100th day in office last Saturday arguing that he has made major progress in rolling back federal regulations and improving the climate for job creation.

But with his healthcare reform efforts flagging, Mr Trump has been unable to get a major piece of legislation through a Congress controlled by his own Republican Party, leaving him without a signature victory.

With Democrats celebrating concessions they extracted in the spending Bill, Mr Trump used a Rose Garden ceremony honouring the Air Force Academy's football team to declare that he and Republicans had got more from the legislation than might appear.

"After years of partisan bickering and gridlock, this Bill is a clear win for the American people," he said.

Democrats quickly denounced Mr Trump's musings about closing the federal government. "Here we saw Democrats and Republicans working together in the best traditions of the Senate, and the president disparages it in a way that's destructive," Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would debate the funding Bill this week and that most Republicans did not favour a change in the rules to make it easier to pass legislation without Democratic support.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2017, with the headline 'Trump: US needs govt shutdown to fix mess'. Print Edition | Subscribe