Politics

‘We Don’t Have A Reliable Partner’ — Graham Trashes Trump’s Negotiating Skills

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Jack Crowe Political Reporter
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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina disparaged President Donald Trump’s negotiating tactics Thursday morning after Trump appeared to contradict congressional leadership’s strategy to secure border security concessions as part of a government spending bill.

Trump upended the ongoing negotiations by calling for funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through a separate bill, independent of the short-term spending bill required to prevent an impending government shutdown that will take effect Friday if negotiations fail.

“We don’t have a reliable partner at the White House to negotiate with,” Graham told The Washington Post as he walked into the Capitol.

“This has turned into an s-show for no good reason, and the only way out of this thing is to grow up a little bit — and I think that’s going to happen,” he said.

Trump’s tweet, which reportedly left Congressional Republicans confused, comes days after he roiled lawmakers by disparaging a foreign surveillance bill, contradicting top White House officials and Republican leadership hours before they were voted on the bill. (RELATED: Trump Struggles To Stay On Message — Contradicts Advisers On Three Policy Issues In A Week)

The White House initially endorsed the short-term spending bill Wednesday despite the inclusion of expanded chain migration. Republicans have been angling to hold CHIP funding over Democrats to force them into supporting the bill absent protections for Dreamers. Trump’s remarks have clearly disrupted that strategy.

The bill, which would keep the government open through Feb. 16, remains short of the necessary votes in the House roughly 30 hours before the government shutdown will take effect. A number of Democrats who voted “yes” on previous short-term spending bills announced they will oppose the bill. Those Democrats are joined by Republican defectors in the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

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