Can Trump shut down the government by himself?

I feel confident that Trump wants to shut down the government. Not really because his stupid wall isn’t being funded but because it will put a spotlight exactly where he always wants it, on him.

But can he do this all by himself? If even the Republican congress won’t support him? Or support him enough? Isn’t congress in charge of the budget?

Trump would have to sign any continuing resolution bill to continue funding the government. If he wants to shut it down he just has to withhold his signature or veto it. There is probably not enough support to override a veto though.

Thanks. I sort of wonder if he will do that. With trump there’s a lot of wonder.

The wall is all about him. So the wall is putting a spotlight on him.

What did you think a president could do to shut the government down on his own???

Order everyone in the Executive branch to go home for lunch and await further orders? That’s perfectly legal, no?

I’d absolutely agree if they get actual appropriations bills done.

I do have to wonder how broad his GOP Congressional support will be when it means staying in DC over the holidays. The Freedom Caucusers are probably reliable to vote against a CR veto override but they aren’t enough in the House. I’m going to count Speaker Paul “I quit…do I look like I give a fuck?!?” Ryan strongly in support of not working on Christmas Day.

A veto override vote count could get very interesting.

This was my first thought, but it doesn’t work too well if you think about how government actually works, which is hierarchical. The President is able to give orders directly to a few handfuls of people, who can then decide to carry out or not carry out the orders they receive. If that order is “tell everyone in your department to stop working”, there’s a chance that they simply don’t think it’s a good idea, and will refuse to pass along the order. This is why Nixon went through multiple AGs to get someone to fire the special prosecutor.

If the funding isn’t there, then the reason government employees wouldn’t work is that they wouldn’t get paid. Only ones that are in very specific jobs with public safety directly at risk would likely be willing to work without pay - and those jobs almost certainly have full funding anyway because of their criticality. To most everyone, it’s just a job, and there’s no point showing up if you’re not getting paid.

Well they aren’t exactly government shutdowns, but the president does occasionally close the federal government and give everyone the day off on certain occasions. Most recently for the funeral of G.H.W. Bush. But also if Christmas is on a Tuesday or Thursday he traditionally will close the day before or after Christmas so everyone gets a 4 day weekend, especially since the majority of the workforce is going to take a personal day that day anyway so it probably saves money just to shut it down.

So he probably has the same authority to send everyone home for a longer period.

I don’t know. That’s why I asked. In every other presidency I’ve lived through, it has never come up. Even Nixon. But Trump doesn’t exactly work well with others.

There have been several government shut downs since Nixon including almost a month’s worth in the Clinton administration when he vetoed a Newt Gingrich spending bill.

From this NY Times article:

Actually, non-essential civil servants are forbidden to work during shutdowns. I don’t understand the reasoning (something to do with it being an illegal gift to the government?), all I know is that every time there’s a shutdown, we exchange personal e-mail addresses with colleagues and supervisors because we aren’t even allowed to use our government e-mail systems or government phones.

Why it’s OK for us to check e-mail on weekends but not during shutdowns, I have no idea.

Yes, unless enough of Congress gets worried about the political ramifications to pass a funding bill over his veto.

Yes, but it was never a solo move by a president.

The guidance we’ve gotten in our corner of the bureaucracy is that for us non-supervisors, even checking your government email outside of work hours isn’t kosher.

I could see the ones who won’t be back in 2019 saying, “fuck it, I’m out of here, let the new Congress end the shutdown when it’s sworn in.”

Who decides which federal workers are essential and which aren’t? Trump? Is the entire Secret Service essential? or are some G-men furloughed since the added security needed for trips to golf courses and campaign rallies will no longer be needed?

Many incoming Democratic Congressmen need support for their opening session just two weeks ago. I suppose Trump will ensure they don’t get any support. Is the team assisting Robert Mueller’s investigation “essential”?

Each department, bottom-up, subject to review. About 3 shutdown threats ago, my department went through a week-long “who’s essential” exercise starting with the supervisors, that was approved by higher-ups (not sure how high the review went with per-person level of detail). Now that this is in place, it’s pretty much ready-to-go. My office (an environmental one, without any enforcement role) has live animal experiments going on, so our final list was “one administrator for the whole 400+ person building as the point-of-contact, minimal staff to keep the animals alive/experiments running.” Everyone else from highest to lowest level was sent home. Some things - like grounds security - are via contract. Contracts generally aren’t interrupted, depending on whether they need a full-time federal supervisor onsite or not. (If they can’t work, they’re often the ones that get screwed because they just stop being paid and don’t get back-pay).

Actually, the “check on weekends” has its own rules on paper, at least if anyone wants to make an issue of it. As a supervisor, I’d better never say anything that implies I expect an employee to check something on a weekend, unless I’ve got overtime pre-approved. If an employee does so on their own, fine, but there better not be any hint that it was encouraged from above. During a prolonged shutdown, there’s greater scrutiny, and it’s much safer to say “this is totally forbidden” in big letters from the top then to give any suggestion whatsoever that a supervisor implied (wink wink nod nod) that someone should do work that’s unapproved for outside-of-hours pay.