Columns

Trump Wants to See DACA Deal with 'Chuck and Nancy' and 'Make a Lot of Happy People'

A fighter supporting al-Qaeda stands in Idlib province, north Syria, on March 28, 2015. (Al-Nusra Front Twitter page via AP)

WASHINGTON — President Trump predicted on Air Force One en route to a tax reform event in Bismarck, N.D., today that there will be a solution forged with “Chuck and Nancy” on the DREAM Act and “a lot of happy people” as a result.

Trump characterized his morning meeting with congressional leaders including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as “very good,” particularly in terms of a debt-ceiling hike. “Always we’ll agree on debt ceiling automatically because of the importance of it,” he said.

“Also on the CRs and also on Harvey, which now we’re going to be adding something because of what’s going on in Florida — but we had a very good meeting. We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good. We had a very, very cordial and professional meeting,” he added.

The parties in the meeting agreed to a continuing resolution that would give Congress until Dec. 15 to pass a spending plan, averting a government shutdown at the end of this month.

In response, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) issued a one-sentence statement: “The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad.”

Asked about the White House sending mixed signals on its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Trump said there’s been “no mixed signal at all.”

“Congress, I really believe, wants to take care of this situation. I really believe it — even very conservative members of Congress. I’ve seen it firsthand. If they don’t, we’re going to see what we’re going to do,” Trump added. “But I will tell you, I really believe Congress wants to take care of it. We discussed that also today, and Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I. 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.”

Asked if he wants to see a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries, Trump replied, “That’s going to be discussed later, but we want to talk about legal right now. We haven’t discussed that.”

The president said he wants to see something from Congress “where we have good border security, and we have a great DACA transaction where everybody is happy and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore because, obviously, as you know, before, it was not a legal deal.”

“It was a deal that wouldn’t have held up and didn’t hold up. And even President Obama when he did it, when he signed it, he said this is obviously not something that’s — he called it short-term,” Trump said. “I’d like to see a permanent deal, and I think it’s going to happen. I think we’re going to have great support from both sides of Congress, and I really believe that Congress is going to work very hard on the DACA agreement and come up with something.”

At an earlier media availability on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said that “it’s only reasonable and fitting that we also address the root cause of the problem, which is borders that are not sufficiently controlled, while we address this very real and very human problem that’s right in front of us.”

He also stressed that House GOPs “will not be advancing legislation that does not have the support of President Trump, because we’re going to work with the president on how to do this legislation.”

“I think people should rest easy. And I think the president made the right call. And the president also gave us the time and space we’re going to need to find where that compromise is. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, this is a home that people know, and they don’t know any other country as a home,” Ryan said. “And so I think there’s a serious humane issue here that needs to be dealt with, but it’s only fitting and reasonable that we also deal with some of the root causes of this problem. Because we don’t want to have happen is another DACA problem 10 years from now.”

Schumer and Pelosi indicated today that passing a DREAM Act is a priority, even if they have to attach it to other bills.