Bipartisan deal seen as new era for president
President Trump won his first major bipartisan legislative victory Thursday as senators approved the debt and spending deal he struck with Democratic leaders, in what Mr. Trump promised was a new era of bipartisanship in Washington.
Democratic leaders, who just days earlier vowed to resist the president and called him cowardly and beholden to racists, now say they can see their way to working with Mr. Trump, at least when it comes to borrowing and spending to keep the government open.
The deal, which is expected to clear the House on Friday, would inject more than $15 billion into funds to cover immediate costs for victims of Hurricane Harvey and expected victims of Hurricane Irma. The agreement also funds the government through Dec. 8, avoiding a potential shutdown later this month, and extends the Treasury Department’s borrowing powers through early December, avoiding a default on obligations.
Mr. Trump said it marked a new beginning after two years of sniping on the campaign, followed by months of resistance by Democrats to every facet of the president’s agenda.
“I think we will have a different relationship than we’ve been watching over the last number of years. I hope so,” the president said. “I think that’s a great thing for our country. And I think that’s what the people of the United States want to see. They want to see some dialogue.”
Looking to expand on the cooperation, Mr. Trump said Thursday that he is interested in working with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, to try to eliminate the government’s borrowing limit.
“For many years, people have been talking about getting rid of debt ceiling altogether, and there are a lot of good reasons to do that. So certainly that is something that could be discussed,” the president said.
Mr. Trump also took advice from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, by issuing a tweet assuring illegal immigrant Dreamers that they don’t have to worry about being deported over the next six months, the period during which Mr. Trump phases out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“I said, ‘I’m going to ask the president to do …’ And — boom, the tweet appeared, so that was good,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
She said Mr. Trump gave Democrats leverage by agreeing to a short-term debt hike, giving Democrats another chance to get concessions when Congress has to revisit the issue in December.
Mrs. Pelosi said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, helped Democrats’ cause when he insisted that the stopgap funding bill, known in Washington as a continuing resolution, or “CR,” be tied to the debt increase.
“The fact that they brought up the CR really strengthened our hand,” she said.
As he moved toward Democrats, Mr. Trump saw the first signs of fraying support from his own Republican troops on Capitol Hill.
Senators approved the debt and spending deal on an 80-17 vote, but all 17 opponents were Republicans.