Pelosi Just Outmaneuvered Trump In ‘Debt Ceiling Deal’, Leaving Republicans ‘Shell-Shocked’
In a remarkable turn of events, Republican congressional leaders, in control of both chambers of the legislative branch, were left “shell-shocked” and “visibly annoyed” after President Donald Trump cut off his own Treasury secretary to strike a deal with Democrats to attach hurricane relief money to a shorter-term bump in the debt ceiling as well as keeping the government open.
The decision was one of the most fascinating and mysterious moves he’s made with Congress during eight months in office.
Trump’s stunning agreement to endorse a plan proposed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer came during a Wednesday morning meeting with leaders from both parties in the Oval Office, the first such meeting of Trump’s presidency.
According to CNN, several Republicans briefed on the meeting said that Trump, who has not accomplished a major legislative achievement for his first seven months in office, was hungry for a deal.
“He was sick of this fight and went against his own Treasury secretary,” a Republican familiar with the meeting told CNN.
Just yesterday, Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, pushed lifting the debt ceiling for 18 months. With no agreement at hand, they decreased the timeframe to a year, before finally proposing a six-month extension.
Democratic leaders dismissed all of their proposals, standing firm by their three-month extension plan, which they had publicly endorsed in a joint statement before the meeting.
A source briefed on the meeting said the top Hill Republicans — McConnell and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — and Trump’s own Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, echoed Ryan’s concerns about such a debt limit and warned against problems caused by a shorter-term solution.
According to one source familiar with the events, Mnuchin was in the middle of arguing for a longer-term deal in the meeting when the President abruptly cut him off and sided with the Democrats.
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.
“Now nothing will get done between now and Dec. 15,” one Republican told CNN. “You think people will vote for a budget now?”
Other congressional Republican sources argued this wasn’t just the President undermining GOP leaders politically, but ultimately on policy.
Talk about the “art of the deal.”