After Democrats refused several deals from President Donald Trump to reopen the government and fund the border wall, the president decided to blindside Congress with a new rule.
As noted by USA Today, Trump took action to further limit travel by Congress members during the partial government shutdown.
The move is undoubtedly aimed at Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who continue to leave Washington, D.C., while the government has been partially shutdown for nearly a month.
From USA Today:
The new policy, announced in a memo to department heads, was put in place one day after Trump canceled a military plane for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was planning to lead a congressional delegation to Afghanistan this weekend.
“Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased or chartered aircraft support any Congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff,” wrote Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.
“Nor will any funds appropriated to the Executive Branch be used for any Congressional delegation travel expenses, without his express written approval,” Vought’s memo said.
— Russ Vought (@RussVought45) January 18, 2019
Just days ago, Trump pulled the rug out from Pelosi just minutes before her military plane was scheduled to leave for a week-long trip out of the country during the shutdown.
Should Pelosi & Schumer get paid during the shutdown?
Trump sent a letter to Pelosi demanding that she cancel her upcoming trip to Europe and the Middle East.
“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed,” he wrote, informing the speaker that she could “reschedule” the week-long trip abroad when the shutdown was over.
Trump’s letter used very similar language and phrases that Pelosi used in her letter on Wednesday to the president, where she suggested Trump “reschedule” or “postpone” his State of the Union address until the government reopens.
“I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the strong border security movement to end the shutdown,” he wrote.
Trump rounded out the letter by blistering Pelosi, telling her that she could still make the trip by flying on commercial flights instead of a private jet.
“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” he said.
The president added that he “looked forward” to meeting with Pelosi in the future to strike a deal on providing funding for the border wall and ending the shutdown.
And now, the president is letting Congress know that so long as the government is shutdown, all lawmakers are prohibited from using military aircraft to leave town.
Until Democrats agree to a deal with Trump, the president is grounding them in the D.C. swamp.