Politics

Trump to Jilted GOP: Inaction Led to Deal With Dems

President: Senate rules means Republicans will ‘never’ pass bills alone

President Trump with elected officials from North Dakota during a tax road show event Wednesday in Bismarck, including Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, far right. Trump spent much of this week cutting deals with and courting Democrats. (White House photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday delivered a message to congressional Republicans, essentially telling them their inaction led him to cut a deal with Democrats this week.

Amid GOP members’ collective frustration-venting in public this week about Trump’s decision to cut a deal with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, Trump used a series of tweets to explain his choice — and give his fellow Republicans some instructions for the fall legislative session.

“Republicans, sorry, but I’ve been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn’t happen!” Trump tweeted, openly criticizing his own party and again showing his frustration with Republicans’ inability to get a bill through the Senate that would have partially repealed and replaced Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

[Trump: Tax Overhaul Would Make U.S. a ‘Jobs Magnet’]

Trump also used the Senate’s rules to justify his decision to strike a deal that led Senate leaders to attach a three-month debt ceiling suspension and three-month government-funding bill to a Hurricane Harvey relief bill and send it to the House. (It is slated for a final vote in that chamber around midday Friday.)

He called the Senate's legislative 60-vote threshold a "Repub Death Wish!” The president wrote the rule will “never allow the Republicans to pass even great legislation. 8 Dems control - will rarely get 60 (vs. 51) votes.”

Hence, his decision to cut a deal with Schumer to punt major decisions on the federal borrowing limit and government spending until early December.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Washington Post that Trump made the debt ceiling deal with Democrats in order “to move on to big-ticket items” like tax reform. Ross cited the short congressional schedule in September as a reason for getting the debt ceiling settled.

But there was another reason, one even more important for his presidency and chances to get re-elected: signing a tax overhaul bill into law ASAP. And he made that clear in another series of tweets.

Trump instructed Republican lawmakers to “start the Tax Reform/Tax Cut legislation ASAP,” adding: “Don't wait until the end of September. Needed now more than ever. Hurry!”

Signing a tax overhaul bill into law is a key to achieving many of Trump's campaign promises, according to his own description of such a bill's subsequent effects.

[Harvey Aid Bill Creates Dilemma for Texas Republicans]

In recent speeches and other public remarks on the tax overhaul push, the president has promised rate cuts — especially for businesses — and simplifying the tax code will lead businesses to create jobs, bring jobs and factories back to America, and revive sectors like manufacturing while providing a boost to the U.S. economy.

Lowering tax rates on private-sector firms would make the United States a “jobs magnet” and provide a boost to the economy, Trump said Tuesday during a meeting with Republican tax-writers from Congress and his administration.

“But if we’re going to keep this momentum going and allow this economy to truly take off as it should, it is vital that we reduce the crushing tax burden on our companies and our workers,” Trump said after ticking off a list of positive economic developments since he took office.

— Ellyn Ferguson contributed to this report.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.