WASHINGTON – The leaders of the Democratic minority in the Senate and the House of Representatives – Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, respectively – rejected on Tuesday attending the scheduled meeting with President Donald Trump after he expressed pessimism about reaching an agreement with their party.
“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,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a 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,” they added.
The two top-ranking Democrats in Congress issued their statement after Trump had tweeted earlier on Tuesday: “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!”
Hopes were that at the meeting issues such as expanding the debt ceiling and the tax reform plan, the House version of which had been passed on Nov. 16, would be discussed.
The fact that the tax reform bill could face more difficulties in the Senate due to the split among Republican lawmakers on the issue has led Trump to attempt to negotiate with the Democrats to try and garner at least a few votes from that side of the aisle.
Another issue that had been expected to be discussed was the raising of the debt ceiling before Dec. 8, when current government operating funds run out, to avoid a government shutdown like the one that occurred in 2013.
The Democratic leaders said that there was no time to lose in dealing with the problems facing the US, and they promised to continue negotiating with GOP leaders who are interested in reaching a bipartisan accord on assorted issues.
Despite the president’s reaction, Democrats said they were hopeful about a potential accord with Republicans, who have majorities in both chambers of Congress.