Sen. Thune: 'There Shouldn't Be Any Discussion About Shutting Down the Government'

By Susan Jones | November 27, 2017 | 6:55 AM EST

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) (Photo: Screen capture/"Fox News Sunday")

( - A short-term spending bill passed by Congress earlier this year runs out on Dec. 8, and keeping the money tap open is one of the main concerns as lawmakers return to town this week.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Congress needs to pass a long-term spending bill, but "sometimes you need to do a short-term extension." And Thune discouraged talk about a government shutdown: "There shouldn't be any discussion about shutting down the government," he told "Fox News Sunday."

"We can make this thing work," Thune said. "We just need to get people at the table, negotiate it. I think the president's bringing the leadership in the House and the Senate to his office later this week to do that."

Host Chris Wallace noted that a long-term spending bill will need 60 votes to pass the Senate, which means some Democrats must join Republicans in voting for it. And Wallace said some Democrats are demanding a DACA fix -- permanent legal residence for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens -- in return for their support:

"Is that something that Republicans, like yourself, are willing to accept?" Wallace asked Thune:

"I don't think that ought to be in this bill," the senator responded.

This bill ought to be about funding the government. DACA is a big issue. Immigration is a big issue. There's a lot of sympathy for assisting those, you know, young men and women who were in this country through no fault of their own, who are here illegally through no fault of their own, at the same time doing something about border security. We think those issues need to be coupled.

But that's a big issue. That is a consequential, legislative issue that needs to be dealt with, but it shouldn't be dealt within in the context of a year-end spending bill, and the Democrats using it -- trying to use leverage to -- as a -- you know, to shut down the government.

That's not how this ought to be resolved. Let's do the spending issue. We'll negotiate that with the Democrats. The DACA issue and border security need to be negotiated separately, hopefully sometime next year.


Senate Republicans also aim to pass a tax reform bill this month.

"We  need to get this accomplishment," Thune said. "This is a goal that we've had for a long time. The tax code in this country needs to be changed if we're going to be competitive in the global marketplace. Our businesses are not competitive today. If we want to get the economy growing at a faster rate, creating better paying jobs, raising wages in this country, we need to get this tax bill across the finish line."

Thune said he believes the tax reform bill will pass, and he said Senate Republicans are going to have an open process on the floor of the Senate "where people can offer amendments," making changes to the bill.
"I think in the end we'll get the votes. But it's a process and -- a legislative process. It takes time to move it across the finish line. But I think we'll get a bill to the president."

President Trump tweeted on Sunday: "Back in D.C., big week for Tax Cuts and many other things of great importance to our Country.  Senate Republicans will hopefully come through for all of us. The Tax Cut Bill is getting better and better. The end result will be great for ALL!"

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