Trump Told GOP Leaders He Won’t Force a Shutdown. Will He Keep That Promise?

Trump Told GOP Leaders He Won’t Force a Shutdown. Will He Keep That Promise?

Kevin Lamarque

President Trump has explicitly assured Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) that he won’t shut down the government before the November midterm elections, and leaders in both parties expect they’ll be able to pass the spending bills needed to keep the lights on after the fiscal year ends on September 30, Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports.

And yet … a source close to Trump tells Swan they’re confident but not completely certain that the president will keep his promise to McConnell and Ryan. Funding for a border wall with Mexico is still on Trump’s mind. "I won't rule it [a shutdown] out because it's his biggest issue and he wants to have this discussion before the election,” the source told Swan. “In his gut, he thinks it's good politics."

Budget expert Stan Collender still predicts a 60 percent chance of a shutdown, despite progress made by the Senate last week in passing necessary appropriations bills.

Time is one issue. “[T]here are still only 11 legislative days left in September and Congress as a whole isn’t close to completing the work it has to do on all the 2019 spending bills to get them signed by the president before the government turns into a pumpkin at midnight September 30,” Collender writes.

But Trumpian power politics are the main reason Collender says the chances that the president provokes a shutdown will likely rise as the deadline approaches: “If, as seems likely, Congress again refuses to appropriate the billions he wants for his wall, Trump will be handed a relatively easy way to show that he’s in charge; to look tough on immigration, the most important issue he has ridden since the day he announced his candidacy; and to reconfirm his dealmaking abilities.”