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As Shutdown Looms, Trump Calls on McConnell to Use ‘Nuclear Option’ to Pass Border Wall Funding


The House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would allocate $5 billion to building President Donald Trump‘s border wall, but it won’t mean anything without it passing in the Senate as well. With a tougher mountain to climb there, the president is now calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to once again use the “nuclear option” and change the rules to make it easier for the bill to pass.

“Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done!” Trump said in a Friday morning tweet. “Our Country is counting on you!”

The idea is that Senate Republicans could change the rules so that only a simple majority of 51 votes would be required to block a filibuster when it comes to legislation, instead of the 60-vote requirement that currently exists. That would effectively mean that a spending bill would require less support to pass than what is currently the case. It’s the same strategy that Republicans used to eliminate filibusters for Supreme Court nominees in order to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, and later allowed for the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This time, however, Trump’s party may not be as eager to play along.

In January, McConnell was against using the nuclear option for this sort of situation, with an aide saying, “The Republican Conference opposes changing the rules on legislation.”

A GOP concern is that this move could very well backfire should the time come when Democrats have control over the House and Senate.

Senator Steve Daines (R-Montana) is one Republican who supports the nuclear option, tweeting in favor of it on the eve of a potential government shutdown.

Trump took notice, praising Daines Friday morning.

The president has threatened a government shutdown if he cannot get approval of funding for a wall or fence along the Mexican border, one of his main campaign promises in 2016.

[Image via Fox News screengrab]

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