WASHINGTON — President Trump was supposed to meet again today with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), but the Dem leaders canceled after Trump predicted via Twitter it would be an unproductive session.
“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!” Trump tweeted this morning.
The president was scheduled to travel to Capitol Hill in the afternoon to meet with GOP senators, and then return to the Oval Office to meet with congressional leaders as he tries to push through the Republicans’ tax reform plan. More pressing, though, is the need to agree on a spending package to avert a government shutdown.
“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,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement after the morning White House meeting. “Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan to meet this afternoon.”
“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 added.
“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. We look forward to continuing to work in good faith, as we have been for the last month, with our Republican colleagues in Congress to do just that.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) charged in a joint statement that Democratic leaders “have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues.”
“Democrats are putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics,” he said. “There is a meeting at the White House this afternoon, and if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will be there.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it “disappointing that Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi are refusing to come to the table and discuss urgent issues.”
“The president’s invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work. These issues are too important,” she said. “The meeting will proceed as scheduled with Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell and administration officials who are committed to getting things done. If the Democrats believe the American people deserve action on these critical year-end issues as we do, they should attend.”
Schumer noted today on the Senate floor that Trump “tweeted a blatantly inaccurate statement” then declared no deal before he even heard from the Democrats.
“We have so many things to do: we have to fund the government, we have DACA, we have the Children’s Health Insurance Program, we must reinstate cost-sharing for health subsidies and out-of-pocket costs, we have to deal with disasters, we have to fund our defense and non-defense sides of the government in a reasonable way. There is so much to do,” he said. “We are eager to get that done in a bipartisan way. Obviously the president isn’t, but hopefully Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan are, and we look forward to sitting down with them to resolve this in an amicable way as we did in April. When the president wasn’t involved, we got it done.”