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President Trump tweets that government shutdown will last for a 'very long time' if wall not funded

Calls for 'nuclear option'
Posted at 7:38 AM, Dec 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-21 09:04:05-05

As part of a series of tweets on Friday morning, President Donald Trump said that the government would be partially shut down for a "very long time" if the Senate does not vote in favor of a spending bill that allocates $5 billion for a border wall with Mexico.

"The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!" Trump tweeted.

The lame duck Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a spending bill on Thursday evening that fully funds Trump's border wall. The vote passed 217-185 with no votes from Democrats.

The bill is considered dead on arrival in the Senate, where the margin of Republicans to Democrats is currently 51-49. Sixty votes are needed to pass the spending bill.

Trump also tweeted a call for the Senate to switched to the so-called "nuclear option": Changing the Senate rules to limit debate and allow budget laws to pass through the chamber with a simply majority as opposed to 60 votes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has long been reluctant to deploy such an option for legislative options.

The Senate passed a spending bill earlier this week that did not provide any funding for a border wall. After initially indicating he would sign the bill if it passed the House of Representatives, Trump backtracked on Thursday and announced he would only sign a bill the funded the government if it provided funds to build a border wall in its entirety.

In a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders last week, President Trump took ownership of a potential government shutdown and said he would be "proud" to shut the government down for border security.

If a shutdown were to take place, it would be the second shutdown of the Trump presidency. The government was shut down for three days in January.

Friday marks the final legislative session of 2018. With the House flipping to the Democrats in late January, this is likely seen as President Trump's final chance to fund a border wall until the 2020 campaign.