Paul and Mitch, take a seat: President Trump’s new best friends in Congress are Nancy and Chuck.
In a surprising blow to his own party’s congressional leadership, the president on Wednesday struck a deal with Democrats to package nearly $8 billion in Hurricane Harvey relief with a three-month extension of government funding and increase in the debt ceiling. Trump agreed to the request by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer over the objections of Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had wanted a longer increase in the debt ceiling to prevent Republicans from having to take multiple, politically painful votes to raise it in the coming months.
“We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One after meeting with the top four congressional leaders at the White House. In a sign of how the meeting went, he praised the two Democrats he had until recently called “obstructionists,” and he neglected to mention Ryan and McConnell at all.
Trump even held out the possibility of giving Democrats a much bigger prize in future negotiations: a permanent legislative fix for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who were protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which he announced would be winding down. “Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I,” the president said.