Earlier this week, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he was “increasingly worried that President Trump may want to shut down the government again because of impeachment.” On Sunday, Trump was given a chance to rule out that possibility — but declined to do so.
From December 22, 2018, to January 25 of the current year, Trump oversaw the longest government shutdown in United States history. The issue at that time was the refusal of Congress to approve funding for a southern border wall. Building the wall was Trump’s central promise in his 2016 presidential campaign. As PBS reported, polls showed that 54 percent of Americans directly blamed Trump for the lengthy shutdown, which put thousands of federal employees out of work over the holiday season.
This year, the deadline for approving a bill to fund the government is November 21. If no bill is passed by Congress and signed by Trump by the end of that day, the government will shut down again, putting federal employees at risk of losing their paychecks less than a week before Thanksgiving.
Asked by reporters about Democrats’ concerns that he may cause another government shutdown due to his anger over the impeachment process, Trump refused to take the option off the table, according to The Independent newspaper.
“I don’t think they believe that at all,” Trump said, before launching into an attack on, as he called them, “the do-nothing Democrats.”
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiations are.”
Though Schumer expressed concern that Trump would shut down the government to stop the impeachment proceedings, on the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she was not worried about a government shutdown.
“It didn’t do them very well,” when the government shut down in late 2018, Pelosi told Bloomberg News, referring to congressional Republicans.
Pelosi was apparently alluding to the results of the 2018 midterm elections, when Republicans lost control of the House, resulting in Pelosi’s elevation to speaker — and the impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Lawmakers from both parties are currently negotiating a new spending bill that would prevent a government shutdown. However, according to Bloomberg News, they have also discussed passing a stopgap spending measure that would keep the government open into late January or early February. A stopgap measure would postpone serious negotiations on the spending bill until the impeachment process is expected to be finished.
But Trump would also need to sign any stopgap spending bill. A Trump veto would result in a government shutdown, meaning that whether to keep the government open or shut it down to stop the impeachment process, remains in Trump’s control.