WASHINGTON ― House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says there’s no need to make a fuss about President Donald Trump siding with Democrats in backing a three-month spending deal. But she’s blunt about one thing: Republican leaders just got rolled.
“Yeah they did,” Pelosi told HuffPost in a Tuesday interview. “That’s what happened.”
Pelosi was among the Hill leaders who met with Trump last week to hash out a deal on raising the debt limit, funding the government and providing Hurricane Harvey aid. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) were pressing for an 18-month extension on the debt ceiling, which would put off the issue until after the 2018 elections. They don’t like dealing with this issue since many conservatives won’t vote to increase the debt limit without spending cuts, and they need Democrats to get it done. It’s one of few areas of leverage Democrats have in the minority; Democrats could offer to help raise the debt ceiling in exchange for, say, a vote on the DREAM Act.
In other words, the more times Congress has to vote to raise the debt limit, the more times Democrats have an opening to push for concessions.
So when McConnell and Ryan urged Trump to support extending the debt ceiling for 18 months, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) proposed doing it for three months. Ryan said that idea was “ridiculous, irresponsible, stupid,” recalled Pelosi. “And then, we went into a meeting where the president agreed to that ‘irresponsible, ridiculous, stupid proposal.’”
Trump’s decision to buck GOP leaders left McConnell on defense earlier this week, when he said Democrats were prematurely celebrating the short-term deal. He argued he actually outmaneuvered them, by including language in the newly passed bill that preserves the Treasury Department’s ability to apply “extraordinary measures,” allowing it to shift money within government accounts to…