Trump: Senate should change rules if shutdown stalemate continues

By Susan CornwellPoliticsReuters

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that if the government shutdown stalemate continued, Republicans should fund the government by changing Senate rules, which currently require a super-majority for appropriations bills to pass.

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"The Dems (Democrats) just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51 percent (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget," Trump said on Twitter.

Trump's proposal was almost immediately rejected by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Republicans oppose changing the chamber's rules so that legislation to fund the government and end the current shutdown could pass with a simple majority, the spokesman said.

"The Republican Conference opposes changing the rules on legislation," the spokesman said in an email.

Current Senate rules require a super-majority of three-fifths of the chamber, usually 60 out of 100, for legislation to clear procedural hurdles and pass.

Funding for federal agencies ran out Saturday with Trump and Republican lawmakers locked in a standoff with Democrats. There appeared to be no clear path for a quick end to the crisis.

Democrats say short-term spending legislation must include protections for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as "Dreamers." Republicans, who have a slim 51-49 Senate majority, said they would not negotiate on immigration until the government was reopened.

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With elections set in November for a third of U.S. Senate seats and the entire House of Representatives, both sides are maneuvering for the shutdown.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Writing by Warren Strobel; Editing by John Stonestreet and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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