With a December 8th deadline to pass a bill that would avert a government shutdown looming, President Trump was scheduled to meet with leaders from Congress Tuesday afternoon. The meeting’s goal was to continue to negotiate tax reform and hammer out a new spending bill. Yet this morning, Trump seemed less than optimistic that anything would get done.
In a tweet sent out just after 9 a.m., the president said he didn’t see a deal happening because his Democratic “friends” want “illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes.”
The “Chuck and Nancy” in question are House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. The last time Trump met with “Chuck and Nancy,” he surprised everyone, including them, by accepting their proposed deal that involved a short-term budget increase in addition to allowing for federal relief funding following Hurricane Harvey, which caused nearly $200 billion in damage primarily in the greater Houston area.
Given the outcome of the last meeting, there was a great deal of anticipation headed into Tuesday’s sit-down, especially given the circumstances, what with a possible government shutdown in the cards and a new tax bill being shopped. Trump’s bit about “illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked” was most likely in reference to the Democrats desire to provide legal protections for DACA recipients, something “Chuck and Nancy” were angling for in negotiations.
Yet now it seems like the meeting won’t be happening. A little over two hours after Trump’s tweet saying that he doesn’t see a deal happening, Schumer and Pelosi have cancelled the meeting.
In a joint statement released by the powerful Democratic duo, said “that the President doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead.” Schumer and Pelosi will instead meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Both McConnell and Ryan have said that they intend to still meet with Trump.
Schumer and Pelosi said that “we don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement.” They went on to address Trump’s hint at a shutdown, saying that “if the President, who already said earlier this year that ‘our country needs a good shutdown,’ isn’t interested in addressing the difficult year end agenda, we’ll work with those Republicans who are, as we did in April.”
Trump said the country “needs a good shutdown” back in May when he was tweeting about the need to elect more Republican Senators in 2018.
In response to the tweets, Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as pseudo-acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said “a shutdown is not a goal,” it’s a “negotiating tool to an extent.”
As of noon Tuesday, Trump had yet to respond to the news of Schumer and Pelosi’s cancelling of the meeting, but it would be a safe bet to assume that he will at some point.