Republican leaders in the room 'shell-shocked' following Trump deal with Democrats

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07 September, 2017

Trump didn't mention House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who were also present at the meeting but opposed the Dem-backed deal. But by the end of the meeting, Trumpsided with Democrats who wanted a three-month increase.

The framework of a plan to deal with the huge number of looming deadlines facing Congress appeared to take shape Wednesday, but Republicans and Democrats still squabbled over the details of the plan.

Longtime supporter Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., noted that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told Trump it was the "highest priority" for Democrats.

"In the meeting, the President and Congressional leadership agreed to pass aid for Harvey, an extension of the debt limit, and a continuing resolution both to December 15, all together", Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.

Knowing the urgency needed and the difficulty of voting against disaster relief, Republican leadership plans to attach an increase to the debt ceiling when the bill arrives in the Senate, putting conservatives who oppose lifting the borrowing limit without budgetary reforms and guarantees of reduced government spending in a hard place: Vote against disaster relief or turn their back on principled opposition to increased government spending. "That will include the debt ceiling, that will include the CRs, and it will include Harvey". "We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred, very important". "And I said if we can get something to happen, we're going to sign it and we're going to make a lot of happy people".

One immediate matter is Harvey aid, and the House is expected to vote on an initial $7.9 billion package.

"Republican leaders pushed for [an] 18-month debt limit hike, then floated 6 months".

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"The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad", Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said in a statement.

Republican leaders are in a tough spot given conservative opposition to linking a debt-limit hike to a Harvey relief bill. Chuck Schumer of NY say a three-month increase in the debt limit would help ensure that Congress would tackle health care, immigration and looming budget cuts.

The Wisconsin Republican told reporters it was a "ridiculous idea" and said this was no time to play politics with the debt ceiling as Texas recovers from the devastation of Harvey and Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida.

"Given Republican difficulty in finding the votes for their plan, we believe this proposal offers a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default, while both sides work together to address government funding, Dreamers and health care", the leaders said. Mnuchin has said Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling by September 29.

Ryan on Wednesday said "we will not leave" until the relief package is passed.

Since their votes are needed to pass debt ceiling increases, Democrats potentially could use the next vote debt limit vote at the end of this year as leverage to win concessions on a tax reform package that Trump badly wants to advance. The measure, passed 419-3, is created to provide relief to tens of thousands of homeowners from flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and other parts of the Gulf Coast.


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