Congressional Democratic leaders suddenly backed out of a Tuesday meeting with President Donald Trump and their Republican counterparts after Trump tweeted, “I don’t see a deal.”
In a joint statement Tuesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said they would still meet with congressional Republicans to attempt to forge a budget deal and avoid a possible government 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,” Pelosi and Schumer said in the 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. We don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in a bipartisan agreement. If the President, who already said earlier this year that “our country needs a good shutdown,” isn’t interested in addressing the difficult year and agenda, we’ll work with those Republicans who are, as we did in April.
The statement from Democrats came after Trump’s morning tweet that he didn’t see a deal with them on issues including immigration and taxes. The president mentioned immigration at the top of his list of issues.
Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
Trump’s unwillingness to even meet with Democrats raises the threat of a possible government shutdown, something that Congress has been moving toward for the past few months. Congressional Republicans need at least eight Democratic votes in the Senate in order to approve a federal spending bill. In order to get these votes, Democrats have a list of demands, including saving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, helping stabilize the Affordable Care Act, and restoring the lapsed federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Trump, on the other hand, wants money for his border wall between the United States and Mexico, and has been working very hard to destabilize health insurance exchanges, both of which Democrats say are nonstarters.
To avoid a shutdown, Congress must meet a midnight deadline on December 8, a little over a week away. The now-canceled meeting between the White House and Democrats is another sign that they might miss that deadline.
Republican leaders quickly lashed out at their Democratic counterparts in a statement released by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
"We have important work to do, and Democratic leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues. Democrats are putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics,” the statement said.