President Donald Trump “blindsides” the GOP by agreeing to a deal with leading Democrats on a “short-term bump” in the debt ceiling. Republicans are shocked that the president would cut them out of the deal and just go ahead without their input. However, the media appear to be more shocked than the Republican lawmakers.
Supporters are claiming that this was a bold move by the president that cast aside partisan politics in an effort to ensure that enough relief money was available to Hurricane Harvey recover efforts. The president himself said, about the meeting, that: “We discussed that also today, and Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I,” Trump told reporters. “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.”
The meeting took place with Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and GOP leaders, in an effort to end the stalemate on the budget.
According to CNN:
A senior Republican source described Trump as being in “Apprentice” mode, a reference to the reality show that made the President a TV star. Trump just decided to listen and then make a decision on the spot, the source told CNN.
McConnell and Ryan were “blindsided by this,” a Republican official told CNN. In fact, hours before Trump agreed to the Democrats’ proposal, Ryan had publicly called such a plan “ridiculous” during a news conference. The GOP leaders had no heads up or warning that Trump’s decision would happen, Republican officials told CNN. Another senior GOP source described the two leaders as “shell-shocked.”
President Trump is facing backlash over his decision to cut a deal, with GOP sources saying that the President “cut the GOP out” of the negotiation. However, others say that the author of “The Art of the Deal” was simply doing what he was elected to do: Make deals and get things done.
Back in July, as Obamacare repeal and replace efforts were failing, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said that if it failed they would be forced to “work with the Democrats” to prop up the existing Obamacare system. It was viewed as an idle threat by most, meant to motivate fence-sitting Republicans in the Senate. The comment was widely reports as a “surprise” to the White House undermined the President’s, and most of the Senate Republicans’ own, campaign platform. President Trump seems to be less inclined to make “idle threats” and simply do what needs to be done.
Many are wondering if this is the President’s first move towards gaining a “begrudging consensus” in Congress to start moving his agenda forward. There are even suggestions that his agreeing to the Democrat deal is part of a “pre-agreed” strategy for support on other issues: specifically Tax Reform and the Wall.
This was partially confirmed by White House legislative director Marc Short, who told CNN that “We believe that it’s something to clear the deck,” stating that it would allow Congress to “focus on tax reform for the American people.” While the House and Senate seem to be dug into their ideological trenches, President Trump appears to be willing walk across ‘no-man’s land’ to get the job done.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.