In a surprising move, President Donald Trump backed a Democrat-sponsored deal that included relief and aid money for hurricane victims.
The deal, which combined aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey along with a short-term increase to the debt ceiling left GOP leaders “shell-shocked” and stunned as the president struck a deal with Democrats to keep the government open.
GOP Set Back by the Deal
Republicans control both the House and Senate, and were left stunned by the president’s decision about the debt ceiling and hurricane relief package.
The plan endorsed by the President was originally proposed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trump met with both leaders in the Oval Office to discuss their proposal and the potential issues surrounding it; this was the first time the President met with the duo in his eight months in office.
In doing this, Trump effectively sided with Democrats and struck a deal, largely to provide rapid relief to those in need after powerful storms swept Texas and to keep the government operating. Republicans were completely left out in the cold.
If you’re a Trump supporter, it might be uncomfortable to consider, but it’s worth asking – is Trump pivoting away from the GOP?
Republicans Rise in Opposition
Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had attempted to find a compromise, pushing for first an 18-month lift to the debt ceiling, then later dropping to just a six-month extension. Democratic leaders did not agree, insisting on an extension plan spanning just three months.
Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin also expressed concerns about the debt limit and the problems posed by the Democrat sponsored plan. As Mnuchin was arguing against the short-term solution, stating it would cause a variety of problems, President Trump interrupted and sided with the Democrats. Trump’s on-the-spot decision brought the proceedings to a rapid halt, shocking the GOP politicians in attendance into silence.
“The President was in deal-cutting mode,” according to the Blaze “He was sick of this fight.”
President Trump was described as being in “Apprentice Mode,” and in a mood to make rapid decisions, according to CNN. Ryan and McConnell were “blindsided by this, Republican officials told the network.
A Shock, But Not a Loss
Conservatives were understandably upset with the decision, but according to the National Review, this was a savvy move on Trump’s part. The need for immediate assistance for towns suffering the wrath and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey made the deal a good one for the American people; further delays could have prevented help from reaching these beleaguered citizens and areas at all.
In addition to the need for prompt relief for those suffering after the storm, the deal also removed leverage that Democrats had – threatening to close down the government is a powerful bargaining chip, and the president hopes to pass tax reforms later this fall. The latest extension prevents Democrats from slowing down Harvey aid (and then blaming Republicans) or extorting a better deal simply by causing a government shutdown.
Clearing the Way for Tax Reform
Tax reform and a simplification of the tax code have been high on the list of President Trump’s priorities for the budget as the fiscal year draws to a close. The president has toured the nation, stopping in North Dakota, Missouri and other states to promote tax simplification and reduction to actual citizens and pushing a plan designed to reduce taxes for most Americans.
By removing much of the power of the Democrats to delay the budget or even impose a shutdown, accepting the combination deal of a debt ceiling lift plus hurricane aid should clear the way for Trump’s tax reform goals.
Republicans may have been blindsided by the president’s abrupt decision, but the overall outcome is likely to be a positive one for conservatives and all Americans who feel the current tax code is both overwhelming and overly complex.
As for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the sooner relief can arrive, the better off they will be, regardless of the deal struck to get them the aid they need in a time of crisis.
As the fiscal year closes on September 20, 2017, Democrat leaders will be deprived of one of their greatest threats when it is time to tackle tax reform, leaving Republicans well positioned for a win.
~ Liberty Planet