- Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were scheduled to meet Tuesday with President Donald Trump to work on a government-funding bill.
- Trump tweeted “I don’t see a deal!” on a bill earlier in the day and attacked the two leaders.
- The federal government will shut down if a bill is not passed by December 8.
Top Democratic congressional leaders pulled out of a Tuesday meeting with President Donald Trump after the president attacked them on Twitter.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they no longer planned to meet with Trump for negotiations on a bill to fund the government. If Trump does not sign a funding bill by December 8, the federal government will enter into a partial 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,” said a joint statement. “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.”
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that he did not think he could reach an agreement with the Democratic leaders.
“Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes,” Trump said. “I don’t see a deal!”
Pelosi and Schumer said the two sides “don’t have any time to waste” and the White House meeting would likely not be productive toward a funding bill.
Following the announcement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the decision by the Democratic leaders was a letdown but the offer to meet remained.
“It’s disappointing that Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi are refusing to come to the table and discuss urgent issues,” Sanders said in a statement. “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.”
Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell also released a statement decrying the move by Democrats and lambasting Schumer and Pelosi for not negotiating in good faith.
“We have important work to do, and Democratic leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues,” Ryan and McConnell said. “Democrats are putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics. There is a meeting at the White House this afternoon, and if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will be there.”
Democrats come into the negotiations with a solid position on the funding bill, since the GOP caucus is split on several related issues. And since Republicans only hold 52 seats in the Senate, any bill they advance could be filibustered by Democrats.
Democrats have been pushing policy goals of their own to include in the funding bill. Those include the codification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) immigration program and a stabilisation package for the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance markets.
Trump previously caved to Democrats’ demands on a previous funding bill and debt-ceiling increase in September over the objections of Republican leaders. That agreement delayed the shutdown fight until December.
Pelosi and Schumer’s statement also referenced a tweet from Trump on May 2 in which he said the government “needs a good ‘shutdown.'”
“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,” said the statement. “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.”
According to Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at research firm Compass Point, the meetings cancellation is unlikely to seriously sidetrack any shutdown negotiations, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of the talks.
“It is a headline negative, but this meeting wasn’t expected to produce much more than a couple of photos and sound bites anyway,” Boltansky told Business Insider.
The analyst did say that the base case is a short-term extension in funding to push the deadline back to the end of December. This would allow the two sides more time to hash out the details of a bill.
The delay on the tax meeting came as Republicans faced a critical day with their tax legislation. The Senate Budget Committee is set to vote on whether to advance the tax-code overhaul, potentially moving it forward to a full Senate vote later this week.
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