Trump warns government shutdown could ‘last for a very long time’

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Dec. 21, 2018 / 12:59 PM GMT / Updated 1:26 PM GMT

By Liz Johnstone

President Donald Trump on Friday warned Senate Democrats that if they don’t vote for his border wall, there will be a “very long” government shutdown beginning Friday night. And he pressured Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to use the “nuclear option,” which would end the right to filibuster legislation in the Senate and allow the bill to pass with a simple majority.

The “nuclear option” refers to a last-resort way for the majority party in the Senate to overcome objection by the minority, and it involves using a simple majority of 51 votes rather than 60.

“Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything,” Trump tweeted. “He will need Democrat votes, but as shown in the House, good things happen. If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown!”

The measure, which passed the House on Thursday night by a 217-185 vote, includes more than $5 billion for the president’s long-promised wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

But the bill’s odds in the Senate are low as the shutdown deadline looms. Parts of the government are set to run out of operating authority after Friday, and Trump warned in a tweet that “if the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time.”

Just before the House vote Thursday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he had no confidence that the Senate would pass its version of the bill.

“Everyone knows it will not pass the Senate. Speaker Ryan, Leader McCarthy have cynically put it on the floor of the House, knowing it can’t pass the Senate,” Schumer said, referring to House GOP leadership.