John Boehner tried to keep Donald Trump from shutting down the government: report

Former House Speaker John Boehner had to explain to Trump why a shutdown would be bad for the U.S.

By Matthew Rozsa

Published May 22, 2017 8:59AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A new report indicates that the government came closer to shutting down than many realized earlier this month.

President Donald Trump was apparently dissatisfied with the outcome of the spending bill negotiations and was contemplating vetoing it, according to a report by Axios. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was concerned enough about the possibility that Trump would follow through on this that he asked John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House, to explain why it was so important for the president to sign the bill.

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Boehner apparently told Trump that, along with being pleased that he didn't have to match military spending increases with domestic spending, the president should realize that the last thing he needed was a government shutdown. While it is unclear whether Boehner's arguments were crucial to the president's decision to sign the bill, the report indicates that Priebus feeling the need to reach out to Boehner at all suggests that Trump vetoing the bill was a real possibility.

This doesn't mean that Trump's spending-related woes have subsided. Trump is expected to propose a budget on Tuesday that will include massive cuts to Medicaid spending, while House Republicans continue to be divided over whether to cut $54 billion in domestic spending as Trump has proposed. This is a particularly critical issue for the party because, in order to pass tax reform in the Senate without a Democratic filibuster, they need to successfully pass a budget resolution. Yet just as many Republican moderates were reluctant to support the American Health Care Act out of concern that it would hurt low-income Americans, so too are many hesitating to support domestic spending cuts that would target the most vulnerable.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Budget Donald Trump Government Shutdown John Boehner Partner Video