In dance on debt ceil­ing, 2 tango

Pres­i­dent, Schumer to pur­sue per­ma­nent plan to raise the cap

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Damian Paletta and Ash­ley Parker As­so­ci­ated Press contributed.

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer have agreed to pur­sue a deal that would per­ma­nently re­move the re­quire­ment that Congress re­peat­edly raise the debt ceil­ing, three peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the de­ci­sion said.

Trump and Schumer dis­cussed the idea Wednesday dur­ing an Oval Of­fice meeting. Schumer, Trump and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, D.- Calif., agreed to work to­gether over the next sev­eral months to see if they can fi­nal­ize a plan, which would need to be ap­proved by Congress.

One of the peo­ple fa­mil­iar de­scribed it as a “gen­tle­men’s agree­ment.”

Se­nate Democrats hope they can fi­nal­ize an ar­range­ment with Trump by De­cem­ber.

“The Pres­i­dent en­cour­aged con­gres­sional lead­ers to find a more per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the debt ceil­ing so the vote is not so fre­quently politicized,” White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said.

The three peo­ple spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the con­tents of the meeting.

The deal comes af­ter Trump sided with Demo­cratic lead­ers Wednesday on a plan to tem­po­rar­ily raise the debt ceil­ing and fund hurricane re­lief, re­ject­ing a Repub­li­can plan and vex­ing many in his party.

Trump pressed ahead on mak­ing deals with Democrats on Thurs­day, act­ing on a re­quest from Pelosi to re­as­sure the young im­mi­grants who ben­e­fit from a pro­gram that his ad­min­is­tra­tion is end­ing. The pres­i­dent tweeted, “For all of those (DACA) that are con­cerned about your sta­tus dur­ing the 6 month pe­riod, you have noth­ing to worry about - No ac­tion!”

He was re­fer­ring to the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram, which Pres­i­dent Barack Obama cre­ated through ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tion in 2012. Trump on Tues­day or­dered an end to the pro­gram but gave Congress six months to act on it.

Not­with­stand­ing his tweet, the nearly 800,000 Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi talk Thurs­day with so-called Dream­ers. im­mi­grants who ob­tained tem­po­rary work per­mits and de­por­ta­tion pro­tec­tions via DACA can­not nec­es­sar­ily rest easy. Any of them whose pro­tec­tions ex­pire within the next six months have un­til early October to reap­ply, and others face an uncertain fu­ture.

Trump also talked up his sud­denly co­zier re­la­tion­ship with Democrats, rais­ing the prospect of more co­op­er­a­tion.

“I think that’s a great thing for our coun­try,” Trump said, de­scrib­ing his new and “dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ship” with Democrats. “I think that’s what the peo­ple of the United States want to see: They want to see some dia­logue, they want to see com­ing to­gether to an ex­tent at least,” he told re­porters.

Shortly af­ter Trump’s tweet ap­peared Thurs­day morn­ing, Pelosi told fel­low Democrats at a closed-door meeting that she had spo­ken with the pres­i­dent and asked him to send it, in or­der to make clear to the so-called Dream­ers that they wouldn’t be sub­ject to de­por­ta­tion dur­ing the six­month win­dow.

At her news con­fer­ence, Pelosi told re­porters, “I was re­port­ing to my col­leagues, I said, ‘This is what I asked the pres­i­dent to do and boom, boom, the tweet ap­peared.’ ”

Trump also spoke by phone Thurs­day with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Schumer.

Schumer was to meet with him again, this time about pos­si­ble fed­eral in­volve­ment in a rail link be­tween New York and New Jer­sey.

Ryan said Thurs­day that he op­poses scrap­ping the debt-limit process.

“I won’t get into a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion that we had (at the White House), but I think there’s a le­git­i­mate role for the power of the purse of the Ar­ti­cle 1 pow­ers, and that’s some­thing we de­fend here in Congress.”

Ar­ti­cle 1 of the Con­sti­tu­tion sets up Congress’s pow­ers, giv­ing it the author­ity to write and pass leg­is­la­tion and ap­pro­pri­ate gov­ern­ment money.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment spends more money than it brings in through taxes and fees, and it cov­ers that gap by is­su­ing debt to bor­row money. The gov­ern­ment can bor­row money only up to a cer­tain limit, known as the debt limit or the debt ceil­ing. The gov­ern­ment rou­tinely bumps up against this ceil­ing, re­quir­ing Congress to raise it. These votes are of­ten politicized and can cause panic among in­vestors.

If the debt ceil­ing isn’t raised, in­vestors have warned the stock mar­ket could crash be­cause the gov­ern­ment could fall be­hind on its obli­ga­tions if it isn’t al­lowed to bor­row more money.

Trump told as­so­ciates he was de­lighted with the news cov­er­age of his foray into bi­par­ti­san­ship and boasted of the good press in calls to Pelosi and Schumer. But some Repub­li­cans were not pleased. “Yes­ter­day we saw Washington’s swamp con­tinue to rise: Chuck Schumer wrote the art of the steal by tak­ing hurricane re­lief hostage to guar­an­tee a De­cem­ber show­down that fa­vors Demo­cratic spend­ing pri­or­i­ties,” said Sen. Ben Sasse of Ne­braska.

Repub­li­can Rep. Bill Flores of Texas sug­gested Trump would come to re­gret work­ing with the Demo­cratic lead­ers. “There may be a feel­ing of euphoria to­day, but then there is al­ways the han­gover that comes the next day,” he said.


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