What to Make of Trump’s Alliance with Top Democrats on Budget Deal

President Trump shocked Republican leadership last week when he bypassed them and struck a budget deal with congressional Democrats. Few anticipated the president eliciting the support of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Dem -NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Dem -CA) on a three-month deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Rep-KY), Speaker Paul Ryan (Rep – WS), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Rep-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who were all at the meeting pushed for a longer debt-limit increase.

Republican leadership, as expected, was initially unhappy with Trump’s decision seeing his action as a reversal of his previous stance on the budget. Speaker Ryan dismissed the plan as “ridiculous” but Trump seemed unphased. The message was clear – work with me or I’ll get them to.

In spite of frustration with the budget bill once again raising the debt ceiling, the Senate voted to approve the short-term measure.

Senators voted 80-17 on the bill, which includes an extension of government funding and an increase in the federal borrowing limit through Dec. 8. Both measures are coupled with more than $15 billion in hurricane and disaster recovery aid.

Seventeen Republican senators voted against the deal included Senators Lindsey Graham (SC), John McCain (AZ) and Rand Paul (KY). Senator Ted Cruz (TX) reluctantly voted yes though he stressed, “I would have much preferred a clean Harvey relief bill.”

Trump administration officials touted the agreement as a move to help clear the decks and make room for tax reform, another key GOP agenda item that has been on hold.

GOP leaders had pointed to government funding, the debt ceiling, and help for hurricane victims as their top three priorities for September. The deal passed by the Senate also includes a short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, which was set to expire at the end of September.

“We’re very happy we have a deal,” Mnuchin told Fox Business on Thursday. “The president’s priority was to make sure we have the funding for [Hurricane] Harvey and to make sure we raise the debt limit to pay for that.”

So, what to make of Trump’s decision to work with Democrats doesn’t seem as confusing to those who voted for him as it does to the Republican establishment.

After over six months into his presidency, Republican voters still say they relate more to Trump’s political views than those of their own representatives in Congress. The general feeling appears to be that Republican leadership has had more than enough time to accomplish something and they haven’t.

A new Rasmussen Report shows that a majority of voters think it is good for the country if Trump works with congressional Democrats to advance his agenda. Only 13% think the bipartisan cooperation is bad for the country.

Less than 20% believe the president should continue to rely on congressional Republicans to pass his agenda, down from 29% in early April. 65% now feel he should reach out more to Democrats in Congress for help as opposed to 58% who felt that way five months ago.

Republican voters are actually more ready for President Trump to work with Democrat leaders than their own voters are. 72 % of Republican voters enthusiastically support bipartisan efforts versus 62% of Democrats.

Ryan and McConnell should take note that over 70% of voters who strongly approve of the job the president is doing say it is better for the country if he works with congressional Democrats. A plurality of Democrat voters agree and even a majority of those who strongly disapprove of Trump’s job performance strongly agree.

Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban said President Trump’s deal with Democrats on the federal budget and hurricane funding “hit the nail on the head.”

“It’s pure, classic Donald Trump. I thought it was really smart,” Cuban told host Neil Cavuto. “The biggest fear a salesperson has is that a deal would die, and so working with somebody, even if it’s for a short term, even if it’s with the Democrats keeps the deal alive.”

Though the billionaire has been a vocal critic of the president on policy he said, “there’s a lot of things I disagree with him on, but this is one thing I think he’s hit the nail on the head.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan denied reports that he was “furious” over President Trump’s surprise budget deal with Democratic leaders on Wednesday.

But, is he listening to the people?

~ American Liberty Report


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