The top two Democratic leaders in Congress pulled out of a meeting with President Donald Trump Nov. 28 after he tweeted that a budget deal with them was unlikely, raising the odds that the U.S. government will partially shut down next week.
“Given 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,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.
They said they’d skip a “show meeting” at the White House scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and instead ask for a meeting with their Republican counterparts, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Trump sparked the dispute with a tweet earlier on Nov. 28.
Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
“Meeting with ‘Chuck and Nancy’ today about keeping government open and working,” Trump said on Twitter. “Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”
White House aides didn’t immediately respond to requests to elaborate on Trump’s declaration. McConnell said in his own tweet that he would meet with Trump as planned. It wasn’t clear from the tweet whether the Republican leader was referring to a lunch Trump is scheduled to have with all GOP senators at the Capitol or the planned White House meeting between the president and congressional leaders.
If Democrats and Republicans do not reach a deal on spending by Dec. 8, the federal government could face a partial shutdown.
Some Democrats have called for any year-end spending deal to include legislation to codify an Obama administration policy protecting from deportation young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. Trump, who announced in September he was ending the Obama program, has said any deal protecting the so-called “Dreamers” should be paired with funding for a border wall and legislation that would reduce legal immigration.
The Dec. 8 deadline was set in a deal Schumer and Pelosi struck with Trump — against the wishes of Ryan and McConnell — to avoid a government shutdown and debt default in September. They agreed to fund the government at current levels and suspend the debt limit for three months.
Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked @SenateMajLdr & @SpeakerRyan to meet this afternoon. Read my full statement w/ @SenSchumer here: https://t.co/v17WhoEJFU— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) November 28, 2017
Since that deal was struck, Congress has focused mostly on a tax overhaul and has made little progress reaching a spending deal to keep the government open. Other issues have also piled up, including the fate of cost-sharing subsidies that help defray deductibles and co-payments for low-income people with Obamacare insurance policies. Trump has stopped reimbursing insurers for the subsidies.
The negotiations also include efforts to lift legislative caps on military spending, raise the debt limit, provide more funding for disaster assistance, and extend a children’s health insurance program and an intelligence surveillance program.
Several of those issues face year-end deadlines and may end up in a huge spending plan requiring votes from both Republicans and Democrats.
The Trump administration does not want to include immigration as part of the year-end spending deal to keep the government open, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Nov. 27.
“We hope that the Democrats aren’t going to put our service members abroad at risk by trying to hold the government hostage over partisan politics, and attaching that,” Sanders told reporters Nov. 27.