With no man­date, Trump, Pelosi agree to work to­gether

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN AND GABRIELLA MUÑOZ

Pres­i­dent Trump and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi in­sisted Wed­nes­day that they can find ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion on in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing and health care, vow­ing to play nice just one day af­ter vot­ers split con­trol of Wash­ing­ton be­tween the two par­ties.

Democrats were still wait­ing to hear how big their House ma­jor­ity would be, while Repub­li­cans were eye­ing re­sults in sev­eral Se­nate races that will de­ter­mine how much they grow their num­bers in the up­per cham­ber. But it wasn’t clear that ei­ther party emerged with a clear man­date, save for Democrats’

claims that the coun­try wants them to con­duct over­sight on Mr. Trump.

The pres­i­dent coun­tered that Democrats can choose to work on is­sues to­gether, or they can pur­sue their lengthy list of in­ves­ti­ga­tions against the ad­min­is­tra­tion, but they can­not do both.

“If that hap­pens, then we’re go­ing to do the same thing and gov­ern­ment comes to a halt,” the pres­i­dent said at a press con­fer­ence, tak­ing stock of the elec­tion re­sults.

Sev­eral ma­jor races are still pend­ing. Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Stacey Abrams, trail­ing in the Ge­or­gia gov­er­nor’s race, has vowed to send it into over­time, try­ing to or­ches­trate a runoff by push­ing Repub­li­can Brian Kemp’s share of the vote un­der the 50 per­cent thresh­old.

In Florida, Repub­li­can can­di­date Rick Scott ap­pears to have de­feated Demo­cratic Sen. Bill Nel­son, but the race may end up in an au­to­matic re­count.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of bal­lots were still be­ing counted in Ari­zona, where Repub­li­cans are try­ing to hold on to a seat. Repub­li­can Rep. Martha McSal­ley held a slim lead over Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Demo­crat.

When the Se­nate races are de­cided in Florida and Ari­zona, Repub­li­cans will have 52 to 54 seats.

In the House, Democrats will hold at least 222 seats to Repub­li­cans’ 196.

What­ever the fi­nal tally, Democrats’ ma­jor­ity will be slim enough that they will have to worry about de­fec­tors on both the right and left wings of their party.

Mr. Trump said he al­most prefers it this way, with Democrats in con­trol rather than a slim Repub­li­can lead.

“It re­ally could be a beau­ti­ful, bi­par­ti­san type of sit­u­a­tion. If we won by one or two or three or four or five, that wouldn’t hap­pen, and the closer it is, the worse it is,” he said. “This way, they’ll come to me, we’ll ne­go­ti­ate, maybe we’ll make a deal, maybe we won’t, that’s pos­si­ble.”

Mrs. Pelosi, too, of­fered grand vi­sions of deals.

“We’re not go­ing for the low­est com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor; we’re go­ing for the bold­est com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor,” she said at her own press con­fer­ence.

She said Democrats aren’t itch­ing for fights but will use Congress’ over­sight pow­ers ju­di­ciously to ex­pose wrong­do­ing within the ad­min­is­tra­tion. She bat­ted aside ques­tions about spe­cific fights, such as Mr. Trump’s de­mand for more money for his bor­der wall.

Asked why she was con­fi­dent that she could achieve bi­par­ti­san­ship, she quoted civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and for­mer Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan as in­spi­ra­tions.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, the Ken­tucky Repub­li­can who will have to forge a part­ner­ship with Mrs. Pelosi, said they worked to­gether when they were se­nior mem­bers of sub­com­mit­tees in their re­spec­tive cham­bers.

He said in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing will be an area of po­ten­tial co­op­er­a­tion.

But he said the Se­nate’s chief pri­or­ity will be con­firm­ing Mr. Trump’s nom­i­nees, in­clud­ing ju­di­cial picks. He said that should be eas­ier in the next ses­sion be­cause the Se­nate will be spend­ing less time on House-passed leg­is­la­tion.

“I don’t think we’ll have any trou­ble find­ing time to do nom­i­na­tions,” he told re­porters.

Nei­ther side in Congress seemed en­thu­si­as­tic about the chances for an im­mi­gra­tion deal — though Mr. Trump said once the courts have is­sued a fi­nal rul­ing on the Obama-era De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals de­por­ta­tion amnesty, he thinks a deal for il­le­gal im­mi­grant “Dream­ers” could be quickly reached.

But Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Demo­crat, sounded a dis­so­nant note. He called Mr. Trump a “poor ne­go­tia­tor” and sug­gested that Congress works bet­ter when the pres­i­dent butts out.

He said that holds true for the spend­ing bills Congress must ne­go­ti­ate by early De­cem­ber.

“I would hope that the pres­i­dent wouldn’t in­ter­fere, and we could get some­thing good done,” Mr. Schumer said.

His po­si­tion as leader ap­pears safe de­spite hav­ing lost seats in his first elec­tion in charge.

He said he was wait­ing for the Florida re­sults and pos­si­ble re­count and that Ari­zona is “not close to over” with per­haps 600,000 bal­lots still out­stand­ing.

“We’ve lost one, two, three seats tops,” he said.

Three Democrats — Sens. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Joe Don­nelly in In­di­ana and Claire McCaskill in Mis­souri — had clear losses Tues­day. One sit­ting Repub­li­can, Sen. Dean Heller in Ne­vada, was ousted.

Repub­li­cans hoped for an­other pickup in Mon­tana, but Sen. Jon Tester claimed vic­tory Wed­nes­day. Oust­ing the two-term Demo­crat had been a per­sonal quest for Mr. Trump.

A Mis­sis­sippi U.S. Se­nate seat held by Repub­li­cans is go­ing to a runoff, but an­a­lysts pre­dict Repub­li­cans will have lit­tle dif­fi­culty win­ning in one of the na­tion’s most con­ser­va­tive states.

Among gov­er­nor­ships, Democrats net­ted seven, in­clud­ing big states such as Michi­gan and Illi­nois, and in Wis­con­sin, where Gov. Scott Walker was ousted af­ter two terms.

But Repub­li­cans held on to gov­er­nor’s man­sions in Ohio and Florida, fend­ing off chal­lenges from strong left-wingers.

In the House, Democrats made sig­nif­i­cant gains in Penn­syl­va­nia, Vir­ginia, New Jer­sey and New York.

Some 17 races were still be­ing con­tested late Wed­nes­day, in­clud­ing a large swath in Cal­i­for­nia. The Demo­cratic can­di­date was lead­ing in seven races, and the Repub­li­can was ahead in 10.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer, whose party lost one to three seats in the cham­ber on Tues­day, called Pres­i­dent Trump a “poor ne­go­tia­tor.”

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