Bi­par­ti­san deal seen as new era for pres­i­dent

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

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.

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