Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday morning pulled out of a scheduled budget meeting at the White House after President Trump suggested demands by “Chuck and Nancy” on immigration and taxes meant no bipartisan deal.
“Given that the president doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead,” Schumer, of New York, and Pelosi, California, the top Democrats in Congress, said in a joint statement.
They were scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wis. Congress faces a Dec. 8 deadline to pass stopgap legislation to keep the government open, and Tuesday’s protest from Pelosi and Schumer points to new problems ahead.
“Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan to meet this afternoon,” Schumer and Pelosi also said in the statement. “We don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement.”
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted: “Meeting with ‘Chuck and Nancy’ today about keeping government open and working,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”
Trump hasn’t engaged much with Pelosi and Schumer since a September meeting that produced an agreement on a short-term increase in the government’s so-called debt limit and a temporary spending bill that is now keeping the government running.
Trump reveled in the bipartisan deal for a time and generated excitement among Democrats when he told then he would sign legislation to protect from deportation immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children.
Trump in September reversed an executive order by former President Barack Obama that gave protections to the so-called Dreamers, many of whom have little or no connection to their home country.
Shortly afterward, he told Pelosi and Schumer he would sign legislation protecting those immigrants, provided Democrats made concessions of their own on border security.
“Hopefully, we can make progress on an agreement that covers those time-sensitive issues and keeps the government running and working for the American people,” Schumer said before Trump’s tweet.
His and Pelosi’s statement also said: “We look forward to continuing to work in good faith, as we have been for the last month, with our Republican colleagues in Congress to do just that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.