Congressional Republicans are fuming over President Donald Trump’s Wednesday decision to side with Democratic leadership, agreeing to a three-month debt ceiling raise and continuing resolution rather than the longer raise called for by his own party.
“He f—-d us,” one senior GOP official told Axios in reference to Trump’s spontaneous decision to accept Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s offer to support a three-month debt raise, rather than the 18- or 12-month proposals brought to the table by his own party’s leaders.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is perplexed as to why the president readily accepted Schumer’s offer, and doubts that Trump made the decision with any discernible strategy in mind, a source close to McConnell told Axios.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called Pelosi and Schumer’s offer of a three-month debt raise “ridiculous and disgraceful” hours before Trump readily agreed to it during the Oval Office meeting. Ryan alleged that the three-month raise jeopardized federal funding for Hurricane Harvey victims.
Trump’s defection from the stance adopted by party and administration leaders may imperil the GOP’s tax reform efforts. GOP leadership made a concerted effort to a secure a longer debt ceiling raise in an effort to delay the resulting political battle until after tax reform had been secured. Trump’s decision to undermine their efforts and acquiesce to the Democrats means the looming debt ceiling battle will compete for legislative time with tax reform efforts.
The timing of the December debt raise is politically perilous for Republicans, as it will likely reveal divides within the party between staunch fiscal conservatives that have advocated for steep spending cuts and the centrists hesitant to make painful cuts right before an election year.
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