President Donald Trump’s decision to side with Democrats in their push to attach a three-month debt ceiling increase to must-pass hurricane relief funding is not sitting well with House Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Speaker Paul Ryan all advocated for a longer debt limit extension, but the president opted to concede to Democrats’ request, a source briefed on leaderships’ meeting with the White House told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday.
Republican leadership pitched the president on an 18-month, and later a six-month debt ceiling increase, which Schumer and Pelosi refused to accept.
The president unexpectedly devcided to side with Democrats on the issue at the meeting, the source told TheDCNF.
Instead of aligning with members of his own party and his administration, Trump agreed Wednesday afternoon to raise the debt limit and fund the federal government through mid-December, allowing members of Congress to deal with the federal budget in the coming months.
Trump’s decision directly conflicts with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s call for a long-term debt ceiling increase, who referred to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s proposal as “ridiculous and disgraceful” during his press conference ahead of the White House meeting. The Wisconsin Republican alleged that Democrats were playing politics, arguing the three-month increase put the areas affected by the hurricanes at risk of not receiving the Federal Emergency Management Assistance funding needed to begin recovering from the storms.
While GOP leadership supported combining long-term debt ceiling language with Harvey funding, conservative members — who have long pushed for spending cuts to a debt ceiling bill — blasted the idea, arguing that linking the two politicizes disaster funding, which would easily pass on its own. The Senate is slated to language on the debt ceiling to the House-passed standalone aid package before sending it back to the lower chamber.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker said he currently doesn’t think he can vote in favor of the deal.
“I’m hearing about it, my initial impulse is I’m not very pleased with it,” Walker told TheDCNF. “We will need to know a little more information, but just on the surface obviously coming out of a classified hearing, But my first glimpse is I don’t know that I can support it.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows echoed Walker’s sentiments, telling reporters the plan “is certainly not the best option.” Meadows said that negotiating with Democrats “doesn’t normally produce outstanding results,” adding Republicans must make structural reforms to get spending under control.
“Well obviously the president had to make a decision because he was left with very few alternatives that were conservative solutions,” Meadows told reporters. “You know, it’s incumbent upon conservatives in Congress to put forth a plan that we can put on the president’s desk.”
GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina said that, while a longer timeframe would be more beneficial to the country, he believes the legislation will pass the lower chamber.
“In the broader interests of raising the debt ceiling a longer time period gives the markets more certainty,” he told reporters. “But look, the White House and the president made a decision and I think we can be able to get this we can get this done very quickly with very little drama.”
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