Trump cuts deal with Democrats on Harvey aid, funding measures

With the White House facing deadlines for raising the debt limit and funding the government by the end of the month, Donald Trump surprised and angered Republicans by cutting a deal with the Democratic leadership on the Hill that would extend the debt ceiling and fund government operations through December 15.

Trump also attached a sweetener: aid to Texas for hurricane Harvey relief that few politicians are likely to vote against.

Politico:

Not 24 hours later, the president cut a deal with Democrats on a short-term debt ceiling increase opposed by McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Just Wednesday morning, in fact, Ryan had scoffed at the Democratic offer that Trump accepted minutes later.

In the aftermath, Republicans seethed privately and distanced themselves publicly from the deal. They were left to hope that Trump's collaboration with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was a temporary dalliance, and not the new MO for the president.

"Obviously, it would have been better not to make us vote repeatedly on the debt ceiling. But I wasn't surprised," sighed Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). "I think Mitch would rather have done it differently, but it's not worth having a big old fight over."

"A three-month debt ceiling? Why not do a daily debt ceiling?" cracked Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). "He's the best deal-maker ever. Don't you know? I mean, he's got a book out!"

Trump's deal with Democrats doesn't appear to help Republicans at all. While it averts a fall government shutdown and a default on the nation's debt until at least December, it also emboldens Democrats to push for immigration changes or spending priorities without giving an inch to the right.

Congress will likely have to strike a major bipartisan fiscal deal in December to raise the debt ceiling long term and keep the government open for the remainder of fiscal 2018. And Republican lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol complained Wednesday that Trump probably just undercut leadership in those future negotiations, making it even harder for them to secure legislative wins.

Trump's about-face and embrace of the Democrats is a matter of practical politics.  Republicans were all set to play legislative games with the debt ceiling and government funding.  To do that, they needed a separate funding measure for Harvey relief.

But with FEMA running out of money and Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, Trump must have realized that by temporarily getting the government funding and debt limit issues out of the way, the vital business of relief and recovery for the millions of citizens who have been and will be affected by these devastating storms can be addressed.

Republicans are making much more of Trump's dancing with the Dems.

"It's just a betrayal of everything we've been talking about for years as Republicans," said former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who headed the Heritage Foundation and is still an influential conservative leader. "What the president's going to find is … if they bet on Democratic votes they better plan on [giving up] a lot more than they think they're going to."

Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, the Republican Study Committee Chairman, said he was "taken aback" by the deal and seemed blindsided by the president's decision.

"It's unsettling," Walker said. "It's hard for the conference; I can only imagine what it is for leadership."

Trump's alliance with the Democrats is temporary.  But his problems with Republicans in Congress are long-term.  There is misunderstanding on both sides, even though there is general agreement about Trump's agenda.

This seems far more a personality conflict than a clash of ideologies.  Trump sees McConnell and Ryan as weak and ineffective, as well as being part of the swamp that Trump has promised to drain.  It remains to be seen whether there is any desire for the president or congressional leadership to work together.

Behind this effort to solve the debt ceiling and funding problems is the presence of John Kelly.  How much influence did he exert on the president to get him to make this surprisingly practical political move?  Republicans, who had already been grumbling about Kelly's influence, probably believe the worst.

With the White House facing deadlines for raising the debt limit and funding the government by the end of the month, Donald Trump surprised and angered Republicans by cutting a deal with the Democratic leadership on the Hill that would extend the debt ceiling and fund government operations through December 15.

Trump also attached a sweetener: aid to Texas for hurricane Harvey relief that few politicians are likely to vote against.

Politico:

Not 24 hours later, the president cut a deal with Democrats on a short-term debt ceiling increase opposed by McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Just Wednesday morning, in fact, Ryan had scoffed at the Democratic offer that Trump accepted minutes later.

In the aftermath, Republicans seethed privately and distanced themselves publicly from the deal. They were left to hope that Trump's collaboration with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was a temporary dalliance, and not the new MO for the president.

"Obviously, it would have been better not to make us vote repeatedly on the debt ceiling. But I wasn't surprised," sighed Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). "I think Mitch would rather have done it differently, but it's not worth having a big old fight over."

"A three-month debt ceiling? Why not do a daily debt ceiling?" cracked Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). "He's the best deal-maker ever. Don't you know? I mean, he's got a book out!"

Trump's deal with Democrats doesn't appear to help Republicans at all. While it averts a fall government shutdown and a default on the nation's debt until at least December, it also emboldens Democrats to push for immigration changes or spending priorities without giving an inch to the right.

Congress will likely have to strike a major bipartisan fiscal deal in December to raise the debt ceiling long term and keep the government open for the remainder of fiscal 2018. And Republican lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol complained Wednesday that Trump probably just undercut leadership in those future negotiations, making it even harder for them to secure legislative wins.

Trump's about-face and embrace of the Democrats is a matter of practical politics.  Republicans were all set to play legislative games with the debt ceiling and government funding.  To do that, they needed a separate funding measure for Harvey relief.

But with FEMA running out of money and Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, Trump must have realized that by temporarily getting the government funding and debt limit issues out of the way, the vital business of relief and recovery for the millions of citizens who have been and will be affected by these devastating storms can be addressed.

Republicans are making much more of Trump's dancing with the Dems.

"It's just a betrayal of everything we've been talking about for years as Republicans," said former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who headed the Heritage Foundation and is still an influential conservative leader. "What the president's going to find is … if they bet on Democratic votes they better plan on [giving up] a lot more than they think they're going to."

Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, the Republican Study Committee Chairman, said he was "taken aback" by the deal and seemed blindsided by the president's decision.

"It's unsettling," Walker said. "It's hard for the conference; I can only imagine what it is for leadership."

Trump's alliance with the Democrats is temporary.  But his problems with Republicans in Congress are long-term.  There is misunderstanding on both sides, even though there is general agreement about Trump's agenda.

This seems far more a personality conflict than a clash of ideologies.  Trump sees McConnell and Ryan as weak and ineffective, as well as being part of the swamp that Trump has promised to drain.  It remains to be seen whether there is any desire for the president or congressional leadership to work together.

Behind this effort to solve the debt ceiling and funding problems is the presence of John Kelly.  How much influence did he exert on the president to get him to make this surprisingly practical political move?  Republicans, who had already been grumbling about Kelly's influence, probably believe the worst.

RECENT VIDEOS