President Donald Trump celebrated a deal with Democratic congressional leaders to punt the debt ceiling and government funding to December in an effort to speed up tax reform.
“I’ll tell you what, we walked out of there, Mitch and Paul and everybody, Kevin, and we walked out and everybody was happy,” Trump said after the meeting. “Not too happy — you can never be too happy, but they were happy enough.”
The deal fit neatly with what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wanted, but not what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker Paul Ryan were looking for.
Republicans wanted a longer, 18-month raise of the debt ceiling and government funding, while Democrats see the possibility of a government shutdown in December as a political opportunity. The measure will likely be attached to spending for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas and Louisiana.
But the White House argued that it was important to make a deal to ensure tax reform could happen.
“We believe that helping to clear the decks in September enables us to focus on tax reform for the American people,” White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short told reporters on Air Force One. “We need to get the economy growing again and that’s what we need to focus on.”
Short said he planned to meet with Congressional members of the Freedom Caucus to discuss the deal, which he argued only extended the debt ceiling for a short time.
Trump appeared delighted to find an easy solution to the process, which many in Washington thought would be bloody.
“It was nice to see that happen for a change,” Trump said, during a tax reform speech in North Dakota. “That hasn’t happened for a long time in this country, for a very long time.”