President Trump, intentionally or not, has once again bollixed up Republican plans. The Post reports:
President Trump confounded leaders from his own party on Wednesday by siding with Democrats on plans to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, upending negotiations on a variety of crucial policy areas in the fall and further damaging his relationships with Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Trump made his position clear at a White House meeting with congressional leaders, agreeing with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on plans for a three-month bill to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling for the same amount of time.
That seems to increase Democrats’ leverage in December. They will have the votes that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will need to pass a final budget and raise the debt ceiling. This will give them the perfect opportunity to push forward their own priorities, including passage of a legislative fix for his decision (another stink bomb thrown into the GOP cloakroom) to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order President Barack Obama issued.
Republicans — some of who had dreams of attaching spending cuts to the debt limit bill — were left flummoxed. The Hill reported:
Other Republicans, possibly surprised to see the Republican president cut a deal with Democrats, soon raised their concerns.
“The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).
Ryan earlier in the day called the idea of adding a three-month extension of the debt ceiling to Harvey aid “ridiculous” after the Democratic leaders proposed it. The initial Democratic offer did not mention the government funding, but it has long been seen as legislation that could be paired with a debt limit hike.
If the deal clears Congress, the package would set up an end-of-the-year cliff on both funding the government and the debt ceiling.
Trump’s deal with Democrats also raises new questions for both parties about what will happen next on immigration reform.
Meanwhile, Ryan is painting himself into a corner on DACA:
Ryan said Wednesday that Trump “made the right call” in rescinding DACA because Obama had “overstepped his constitutional bounds.” But he added that he was “also encouraged by the fact that he gave us time to work out a consensus, to find a compromise” on the issue.
“Look, I think people should rest easy, and I think the president made the right call, and the president also gave us the time and space we’re going to need to find where that compromise is,” he said, referring to a March deadline set by Sessions.
It’s not clear what compromise he has in mind, but thanks to the president, the Democrats will have the leverage at the end of the year.
It’s hard to tell whether Trump intends to undercut his own party or is just so clueless that at any given moment he will agree to whatever is put in front of him, provided he is favorably disposed at that moment to the person making the proposal. It is actions like today’s that suggest Trump will never achieve more complex legislative agenda items (such as tax reform). He’s entirely unreliable and easily hoodwinked to undercut Republicans’ objectives. There is political karma here insofar that Ryan justified his support for Trump on the grounds he would help Ryan pass conservative agenda items. In fact, he’s been more help to the Democrats who would like nothing to come of tax reform, Obamacare repeal and many other GOP objectives. Well, that’s what Republicans get for electing a know-nothing, unfit president with no ideological bearings and no ability to maintain consistent views from one day to the next.