Top Democrats Interested In Bipartisan Meeting Without Trump

Georgia Reed
December 3, 2017

Hours after North Korea launched its longest-ranging intercontinental ballistic missile test to date, US president Donald Trump addressed the nation from the White House, scolding Senate Democrats Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for not meeting with the President and Republicans on Tuesday afternoon.

He sat between two chairs left empty for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democrats who skipped the meeting.

The move came hours before they were set to meet with the president at the White House and with only a matter of weeks remaining to reach some type of agreement.

Ms. Pelosi fired back on Twitter, mocking the Republican leaders, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, for going along with the theatrics.

But other Republicans see a severe risk in a government shutdown when they control both chambers of Congress and the White House.

"Meeting with "Chuck and Nancy" today about keeping government open and working", Trump wrote. "I don't see a deal!" he said. Mr. Trump struck a fiscal deal with Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi in September, taking Republicans by surprise. Or will they vote against it and shut down the government? "If it happens, it will be over illegals pouring into the country, crime pouring into the country, no border wall, which everyone wants".

Pelosi later responded to Trump's empty-chair bit on Twitter, saying "it showed he was more interested in stunts than in addressing the needs of the American people".

Andrew Harrer  Bloomberg  Getty Images

"The president's invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work", Sanders said.

But Democrats' support for any modifications to the legislation would be conditioned on legislative protections for immigrants known as "Dreamers"(those who were brought to the U.S. illegally when still children and who have stayed since) while some conservative Republicans have objections.

Democrats complained they were disappointed by the president's statement on Twitter suggesting that it would be hard to reach a deal with Democrats, prompting them to cancel the meeting.

"I'll only say that we will take care of it", said trump, adding that "this is a situation with which the United States can handle". "If it happens, it's going to be over illegals pouring into the country, crime pouring into the country, no border wall - which everybody wants".

How this increases the potential for a shutdown: Trump's sticking on issues important to his base makes him less likely to compromise with Democrats, who want to advance polar opposite issues important to their base. "I think that will have a huge effect on Schumer and Pelosi".

The development took place as efforts to avoid a government shutdown in December hit a roadblock after Democrats cancelled a meeting with Mr Trump scheduled for Tuesday.

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Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the missile strike targeted a military base near Kesweh, south of Damascus. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recorded a video message for the upcoming Saban Forum in Washington.

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