President Donald Trump warned Friday morning that a looming government shutdown could be brought on by Senate Democrats who he said “want illegal immigration and weak borders.”
As a prescription against future Congressional impasses, the president called on voters to hand him even larger Republican majorities in next November’s midterm elections.
“Government Funding Bill past [sic] last night in the House of Representatives,” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “Now Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate - but they want illegal immigration and weak borders. Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!”
Republicans in the House Thursday night managed to pass a month-long spending bill to keep the government funded, but that legislation’s success in the Senate – where Republicans hold a razor-thin one vote majority – is far from certain. Democrats have insisted that legislation to fund the government be paired with protections for Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children, while Republicans have demanded any deal for dreamers be coupled with immigration reforms and border security measures.
The Senate struggled Thursday night even to agree on adjourning for the evening, an ominous sign for the compromise needed by the end of the day Friday to keep the government operating.
The closest Congressional lawmakers have seemed to come to a deal was last week, when a bipartisan group of senators reached a preliminary agreement only to have it shot down by the president. Since then, Trump’s reported use of an expletive to describe certain Caribbean and African nations has seemingly entrenched Democrats and created confusion among Republicans.
While Trump's Friday tweet called for greater GOP majorities on Capitol Hill, early indications have been that the 2018 midterms might instead sweep a wave of Democrats into office. In the months since Trump won the presidency, Democratic candidates have outperformed the party's 2016 candidate, Hillary Clinton, in special elections in Republican-leaning districts across the country, including in Montana, Georgia and Kansas. Late last year, Democratic Sen. Doug Jones became the first member of his party elected to the Senate from Alabama in 25 years.
With the threat of a shutdown looming, the White House has cast blame onto both Democrats and Congress writ large for the impasse, while Democrats have argued that it is the GOP, which controls the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress, that would be to blame in case of a shutdown.
Legislation that currently funds the government runs out at midnight Friday. Should the Senate fail to pass fresh funding legislation, the government would shut down for the first time since 2013.