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Trump Won’t Rule Out Another Shutdown

Michael Rainey

Some of President Trump’s critics are worried that he might allow the government to shut down when funding runs out on November 21, in an effort to deflect attention from the ongoing impeachment effort in the House.

Asked about the possibility Sunday, Trump denied it. But he then said, "It depends on -- it depends on what the negotiation -- I wouldn't commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiation is."

There’s little appetite among lawmakers to go through another shutdown, and Congress is expected to keep the doors open with a continuing resolution that extends federal funding over a period of weeks or months.

However, Politico’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer said Monday that with Democrats unwilling to yield in their impeachment investigation, Trump could reach for whatever weapons are available to him, and “if the president is toying with a shutdown in his mind, this month might not be on autopilot as some may think.”

A simple process: It doesn’t take much effort to prevent a government shutdown, says Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg View. “It’s incredibly easy to keep the government’s doors open; all it takes is a one-page bill changing the expiration date, which could get through Congress in an afternoon.” That assumes, however, that everyone involved wants to avoid a shutdown in the first place.

Trump plus impeachment creates a powerful wild card: The president’s refusal to close the door on a government shutdown could just be a negotiating tactic, Bernstein says, though that’s far from certain. “Unfortunately, Trump has a tendency to make the same mistakes multiple times, and congressional Republicans have demonstrated they’re sometimes willing to go along,” Bernstein writes. “The main point is that a shutdown will happen if and only if one side really wants it to. And while all the incentives seem to be lined up against the idea, they were lined up against the first shutdown too.”

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