WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump delivered a resounding victory to Democrats Wednesday, agreeing on a plan that would raise the debt ceiling and keep the government funded through Dec. 15.
Republicans leaders were stunned, and would not immediately agree on the package.
Democrats, who have been virtually powerless since Trump became president and Republicans maintained control of Congress this year, found a surprising new ally during a White House meeting with leaders of both parties.
“We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he headed to North Dakota to promote tax reform. “We had a very, very cordial and professional meeting.”
But Republican congressional leaders — and Trump’s own Treasury secretary — raised opposition to a short-term plan, arguing that three months on the debt ceiling is insufficient.
“The folks in the room were not on the same page with every other Republican,” the source said.
Republicans believe a three-month debt limit lift won’t give the financial markets certainty and would give Democrats more opportunities to play politics.
The source described Trump’s remarks as akin to asking Congress to “all get along.”
Congress must pass a budget by Sept. 30 or the government will run out of money. The debt limit needs to be increased this month. Republican Senate leaders had considered combining the debt limit with emergency aid to help the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, but were vague about the length of the debt limit extension.
Democrats, though, pushed for a three-month extension for both the debt limit and the budget. They felt that would give them time to build constituencies for pet projects, notably immigration and spending.
Trump on Tuesday said he would end the program for so-called Dreamers, the 800,000 young people whose parents entered the country illegally, and gave Congress six months to act. Democrats are solidly behind the Dreamers, but need Republicans.
The agreement Wednesday gives them a crucial three months to build support for the young immigrants.
It also allows the party time to make its case to avoid the sort of domestic spending cuts Republicans are eager to implement.
“As Democratic leaders, we also made it clear that we strongly believe the DREAM Act must come to the floor and pass as soon as possible and we will not rest until we get this done,” said a joint statement from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.