Ryan defends spending bill after Trump threatens shutdown

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis,. speaks to the press on the spending bill, the GOP healthcare plan and military funding, during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

May 2 (UPI) — President Donald Trump threatened to force a “good shutdown” of the government over frustration with a spending bill, which House Speaker Paul Ryan defended Tuesday.

The president vented on Twitter with two posts Tuesday morning: “The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”

Trump can shut down the government Friday if he doesn’t sign the $1 trillion spending bill.

The bi-partisan bill funds the government for four months. Because it takes at least 60 votes for passage in the Senate, Republicans need support from at least eight Democrats.

To switch Senate rules from 60 votes, it means scrapping the filibuster that allows any senator to insist on a two-thirds vote rather than a simple majority on legislative matters.

On April 7, Republicans eliminated the 60-vote rule for approval of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court with only a simple majority.

The spending bill does not include funding for the border wall with Mexico, Trump’s signature campaign promise.

Ryan, whose House members only need a simple majority to approve legislation, defended the bill.

“Look, we have a long ways to go between now and September, but I share the president’s frustration,” Ryan said in a news conference on Capitol Hill with other House GOP leaders. “I feel good about the wins we got with the administration in this bill.”

He added, “There is a lot of good conservative wins here.”

Ryan noted the bill increases spending for the Pentagon.

“No longer are the needs of our military going to be held hostage to domestic spending,” Ryan told reporters. “We broke this parity and we think it’s a really important step in the right direction.”

The bill also increases spending for immigration enforcement but doesn’t remove funding for Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities. It boosts money for college aid for students with financial need and medical research at the National Institutes of Health, and maintains the budget at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ryan said Congress has “a long ways to go between now and September,” which is when spending for the next fiscal year must be determined.


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