Dec 20, 2018
President Donald Trump on Friday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to "use the Nuclear Option"--or change Senate rules to end the right to filibuster and enable legislation to pass with a simple majority--to push through a spending bill that would avert a government shutdown but also include $5.7 billion in funding for Trump's infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
That tweet followed several others in which the president warned that "if Democrats do not vote for Border Security"--specifically, funding for his long-promised wall--then "there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time." Celebrating the House's 217-185 vote on Thursday night in favor of a bill that includes wall money, Trump added, "Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything."
The House-approved legislation touted by Trump is at odds with a stopgap spending bill passed by the Senate Wednesday night, which does not include funding for Trump's wall. Before the House voted on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) likened Trump's behavior to a "temper tantrum" and suggested the House measure has no chance of getting through the upper chamber, declaring, "The bill that's on the floor of the House, everyone knows, will not pass the Senate."
However, if McConnell follows the president's direction and pursues the so-called nuclear option--which Republican used to force a vote on the confirmation of Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch last year--the measure with billions allocated toward Trump's wall could make its way to the president's desk. Several political commentators, meanwhile, suggested that McConnell won't make such a move due to concerns about the long-term consequences--specifically, how a Democrat-controlled Senate may use it in the future.
As Dave Weigel of the Washington Post outlined:
\u201coh and McConnell knows this, which is why \u201cgo nuclear to fund the wall\u201d is going nowhere.\u201d— David Weigel (@David Weigel) 1545398902
\u201cYou know how conservatives occasionally gloat about Reid giving them the power to confirm judges with 51 votes?\n\nImagine if he changed the rules to confirm *one* judge, and under the new rules the GOP could have repealed every Obama law with 51 votes.\u201d— David Weigel (@David Weigel) 1545398902
"The president and many House Republicans have encouraged McConnell to go nuclear," Fox News reporter Chad Pergram noted in a series of tweets. "I have asked McConnell REPEATEDLY over the past year if he would deploy the nuclear option to lower the filibuster requirement in the Senate on legislation. McConnell has said no."
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