Trump, who led the longest government shutdown in US history, calls on Republicans to let it happen again in 9 days so they can 'defund these political prosecutions against me'

  • The government will shut down in nine days if Congress cannot reach a funding agreement.

  • Trump called on Republicans to let that happen if it means refusing to cave on spending cuts.

  • Kevin McCarthy is facing opposition from some GOP holdouts who won't pass a bill with Democrats.

Americans are nine days away from experiencing yet another government shutdown. Former President Donald Trump, who led a 35-day shutdown in 2019, is suggesting Republicans should let it happen again.

On Wednesday night, Trump took to his social media site Truth Social to offer advice to Republican lawmakers. If Congress doesn't reach an agreement on funding before September 30, the federal government will shut down — and with that deadline just nine days away, the GOP has yet to find a viable solution to keep the government funded.

Trump, who was responsible for the longest government shutdown in US history, urged Republicans to make the most of the "very important deadline" to keep the government funded.

"Republicans in Congress can and must defund all aspects of Crooked Joe Biden's weaponized Government that refuses to close the Border, and treats half the Country as Enemies of the State," Trump posted on his site. "This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots. They failed on the debt limit, but they must not fail now. Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!"

With regards to the debt limit, Trump is referring to the concessions Republicans had to make with Democrats in order to raise the limit and ensure the government could continue covering its spending obligations. They did not get the spending cuts they had hoped to achieve within that bill, which is why Trump is urging them to hold the line on government funding.

However, Republicans cannot agree amongst themselves on what those spending cuts should look like. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday had to pull a vote on a group of conservative lawmakers' continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through October 31 because not enough members of his party supported the legislation.

After failing to corral his party around the conservatives' resolution, McCarthy is reportedly seeking to pass a funding bill that would include deeper spending cuts alongside an immigration package that Democrats are likely to vote against — meaning he would need conservative holdouts to hop on board. If they don't, McCarthy would have to appease some Democratic lawmakers to avoid a government shutdown — and GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz said that could cost McCarthy his title as Speaker.

"If Speaker McCarthy relies on Democrats to pass a continuing resolution, I would call the Capitol moving truck to his office pretty soon because my expectation would be he'd be out of the speaker's office quite promptly," Gaetz told CNN.

These party squabbles are having lawmakers on both sides of the aisle frustrated. "It's yet another reminder that in both houses, a small group of hard-right Republicans are dead set to grind the gears of government to a halt," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

A government shutdown would mean thousands of government employees furloughed, which could lead to processing delays for programs Americans rely on like Social Security and SNAP. The clock is ticking to see if Congress can avoid that outcome — and things aren't looking good.

Correction: September 21, 2023 — This story has been updated to clarify a shutdown will occur if Congress does not reach an agreement by September 30.

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