The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Tuesday that the United States would be better off without a government shutdown this fall, as President Trump called for in a Tuesday morning tweet.
A partial closure of the federal government could affect the Pentagon and military and break a moral obligation that lawmakers and the administration have to support troops, said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.
Trump said a "good shutdown" in September could force the Senate to change its rules and eliminate the filibuster, which threatens to hold up his legislative priorities in the chamber.
"It would be better for the country if the Pentagon and the military do not shut down at any point because the threats to the country do not shut down," Thornberry said in response to the president's tweet.
A partial shutdown is a possibility if Congress cannot agree on a fiscal 2018 budget or a continuing budget resolution. But even if a shutdown occurs, many defense employees and military service members deemed essential would continue work.
"I think my impression is the president is frustrated with the legislative process, especially in the other body, and I share that frustration for sure," Thornberry said. "But when men and women volunteer to risk their lives to defend us, we have a moral obligation to support them in every way possible."
The chairman said he has "no doubt" that Trump shares that view.
The new administration has been looking for a legislative win in Congress, but has been partially frustrated by the filibuster, a rule in the Senate that allows issues to be delayed indefinitely unless there are 60 votes to end debate.
Trump railed against the rule following the release Monday of a massive $1 trillion-plus compromise to fund the government through September.
"The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there!" the president tweeted. "We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!"