Politics

Let the Congressional-White House Meetings Begin!

Huddles with president, leaders, tax-writers come as fall session starts

All four congressional leaders, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will meet with President Donald Trump next Wednesday at the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate will huddle with President Donald Trump next week at the White House as lawmakers return for a jam-packed autumn session.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer are scheduled to make the trip down Pennsylvania Avenue next Wednesday, according to a congressional aide familiar with the plan.

The meeting will come as lawmakers and White House officials try to hammer out a year-end spending measure to avert a government shutdown, reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a federal default, craft a Hurricane Harvey relief package, and deal with a slew of stalled Trump nominations.

The House and Senate — working with senior Trump aides — also are expected to start work on a GOP tax overhaul bill, which the president will begin trying to gin up public support for later Wednesday with a speech in Springfield, Missouri.

Schumer said on a press call Wednesday that Trump is trying to sell the GOP tax overhaul as a populist measure but if the plan “leaves crumbs for the middle class, the American people are going to rise up against him.”

Schumer said Democrats have three principles they believe should guide a tax code rewrite: that it cut “not one penny” in taxes for the top 1 percent and not burden the middle class; that it move through regular order; and that it not add to the deficit.

“This is going to be one of the biggest fights of the next three, four months,” Schumer said. “Democrats are ready for it.”

Trump will meet with the so-called “Big Six” tax working group — Ryan, McConnell, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn — the day before his meeting with the House and Senate leaders, a White House official told CQ Roll Call. Then he will meet with Ryan, McConnell, Schumer and Pelosi the following day.

But the White House huddle will come with some awkwardness. In recent weeks, Trump has lashed out at Ryan and McConnell, the leaders of his own political party whom he needs to pass his domestic agenda.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this story.

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