Former President Donald Trump said Republicans should not abandon their threat of a government shutdown, telling NBC he would support a shutdown if Republicans and Democrats can’t “make an appropriate deal”—as Congress remains deadlocked with just two weeks left before a shutdown.
“I’d shut down the government if they can’t make an appropriate deal, absolutely,” Trump said in an interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker on Meet The Press Sunday morning after she asked if the party should drop the threat of a shutdown now that an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is open.
He said Republicans need to “get a fair deal” to “save our country” and address the “$35 trillion in debt”—referring to the federal government’s total debt, which has increased for decades under successive presidential administrations, including Trump’s.
Trump did not specify what an appropriate or fair deal would look like in the interview.
Similarly, Trump encouraged Republicans earlier this year to let the country default on its debt—a move most economists say would be economically perilous—instead of raising the federal government’s borrowing limit if Democrats didn’t agree to “massive cuts,” adding a default would be better than “spending money like drunken sailors.” Both parties ultimately agreed to lift the debt ceiling until 2025, averting a first-ever federal default.
35. That’s how many days the last government shutdown—which occurred under Trump—lasted. It went from December 2018 to January 2019 and was the second of his term and the longest in U.S. history; it stemmed from a debate over border policies.
Congress has just under two weeks left to either pass 12 annual appropriations bills that make up the federal budget before its expiration at the end of the fiscal year, or approve a continuing resolution that would extend the current budget and continue funding the government until lawmakers can reach an agreement. Both Senate and House leaders have suggested a short-term stopgap measure that would largely extend the current budget is a likely path forward, seeking to avoid a government shutdown. But some House Republicans have threatened to vote against a short-term funding bill unless leadership caves to their demands. The far-right members of the House Freedom Caucus have said they won’t support a spending measure that doesn’t include the Secure the Border Act of 2023, address the “unprecedented weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI” and stop “the Left’s cancerous woke policies in the Pentagon” they say are undermining the military. Because Republicans only have a slight majority in the House, losing the votes of the members of the House Freedom Caucus could cause a shutdown. Despite the issues in the House, senators are largely united across party lines over the spending package—Democrats have control of the Senate—and Republicans in the upper chamber have criticized the House members for the stalled negotiations.