Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he still believes President Donald Trump is a trustworthy negotiating partner despite his decision to side with Democrats on attaching a three-month debt ceiling increase to a must-pass hurricane relief bill during his weekly press conference Thursday.
Despite GOP lawmakers request for an 18-month, then six-month increase to the federal borrowing limit, Trump opted to buck his own party during a meeting with congressional leadership Wednesday, opting instead to support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chick Schumer’s request. Ryan — who just a day earlier alleged Democrats were playing politics with the debt ceiling — said the president was looking for unity between parties as they face the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
“What he [Trump] was aiming for yesterday was a bipartisan moment while the country is facing two horrible hurricanes,” Ryan told reporters.
Ryan said he doesn’t believe Congress can continue to raise the debt ceiling on a short-term basis, but understands the president’s mentality behind working with Democrats on the issue.
“We need to make sure that the government responds to people, and so the president wanted to make sure that we are going together as Republicans and Democrats to respond to this,” he continued. “I was making an economic point with regard to the credit markets — I think stability and longevity are key.”
Combining the debt ceiling with Harvey relief has been met with sharp pushback from House conservatives, who have long advocated for spending cuts to be attached to legislation raising the debt ceiling. A number of members of the Republican Study Committee and House Freedom Caucus said they don’t think they can support deal agreed upon by the president.
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