Speed Reads

Art of the Deal

Schumer and Pelosi bail on White House meeting after Trump attacks them on Twitter

After President Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he didn't "see a deal" with congressional Democrats to avoid a government shutdown, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled out of a planned meeting at the White House. The Democratic leaders said in a statement that "we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead." In his Tuesday morning tweet, the president had attacked "Chuck and Nancy," who he said were in favor of "illegal immigrants flooding into our country" and wanted to "substantially RAISE taxes."

Trump shocked his colleagues by spontaneously negotiating a three-month extension on the federal debt ceiling with Schumer and Pelosi in September, much to the chagrin of congressional Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who called the deal "ridiculous" and "unworkable." But although Schumer and Pelosi seemed to be building some rapport with the president after the debt ceiling extension and a tentative agreement in September to "fix" the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the White House later released a list of hard-line immigration policies that it wanted as a precondition to a DACA deal, which Democratic leadership said were "far beyond what is reasonable." Congressional Democrats are expected to push for protections for these immigrants — who came to the U.S. illegally as children — in debt ceiling negotiations, which will be a tough sell for many conservatives in Congress.

Schumer and Pelosi are now pinning their hopes of avoiding a shutdown on the deal-making prowess of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. But the House speaker suggested he wouldn't play ball with the meeting no-shows either. Kelly O'Meara Morales