Republican lawmakers are reportedly concerned by President Donald Trump's working relationship with the Senate Minority Leader, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, and the House Minority Leader, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California. Trump surprised the Republican leadership when he agreed to Schumer and Pelosi's terms for a government spending package.
On Sept. 6, Trump convened a meeting with Congressional leaders at the Oval Office. The president agreed to Schumer and Pelosi's proposal to tie a government spending bill and a measure to extend the federal debt-limit to a disaster relief package for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, CBS News reports. The decision reportedly shocked the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and the House Speaker, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
On Sept. 7, the Senate passed a spending package that would provide disaster relief, keep the government funded and extend the debt limit until December. Republican lawmakers had wanted to extend the debt ceiling by 18 months. Now the GOP majority in Congress will have to resume a potentially divisive debt limit debate in three months.
Conservative media outlets deemed the spending deal a win for Democrats. GOP lawmakers and operatives blasted Trump's move as a betrayal of the party agenda.
"We're being dictated terms and conditions by Democrats, while they are in the minority," Republican Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio told NPR.
"A three month debt ceiling?" said GOP Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, according to Politico. "Why not do a daily debt ceiling? He's the best deal-maker ever. Don't you know? I mean, he's got a book out!"
Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she believed grassroots conservative activists "did not work so hard last year to elect majorities in the House and the Senate and get Trump elected in the White House to enact liberal policy priorities."
Reporter Jonathan Swan of Axios tweeted out on Sept. 6 that a GOP lawmaker told him the deal meant "Schumer has inserted himself into all negotiations in the winter, including tax, spending and immigration."
Meanwhile, Schumer signaled that he would be open to working with Trump on other policies issues.
"I think it would be much better for the country and much better for Donald Trump if he was much more in the middle and bipartisan rather than siding with the hard right," Schumer told The New York Times. "I think he got a taste of it yesterday. We'll see if it continues. I hope it does."
On Sept. 7, sources familiar with the Oval Office meeting disclosed that Schumer and Trump agreed to explore a potential deal to dismantle the congressional requirement to raise the debt ceiling altogether, The Washington Post reports.
Trump confirmed the discussion during a White House event, stating, "For many years, people have been talking about getting rid of [the] debt ceiling altogether."
Meanwhile, Pelosi disclosed that she and Trump had discussed the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. under the age of 18 a path to citizenship.
"The president said he supports that, and he would sign it, but we have to get it passed and that's our high priority," Pelosi said during a press conference, according to CBS News.
Trump has signaled that he is open to working with Schumer and Pelosi more closely in the future.
"I think that's a great thing for our country," Trump told reporters after striking the spending agreement, The Washington Post reports. "And I think that's what the people of the United States want to see. They want to see some dialogue. They want to see coming together to an extent."
Sources: CBS News, Jonathan Swan/Twitter, myAJC, The New York Times, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Marianique Santos/Defense Video Imagery Distribution System / Embedded Images: Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr, Lorie Shaull/Flickr