It's one of those deadlines that the political world knows is coming, but no one is eager to think about: current funding for the federal government expires on Dec. 8. That's a week from Friday.
By all accounts, Congress is likely to pass a brief extension next week to prevent a shutdown, but policymakers are going to need to work out some kind of compromise package to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year.
And with that in mind, Donald Trump scheduled a meeting at the White House with congressional leaders this morning, though before lawmakers arrived, the president thought it'd be a good idea to publish a tweet on the subject. "Meeting with 'Chuck and Nancy' today about keeping government open and working," the Republican wrote. "Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don't see a deal!"
As is usually the case, Trump's missive was ridiculously inaccurate (and filled with odd examples of the president capitalizing words he finds interesting). But more important was how Democratic leaders responded to his message.
"Given that the President doesn't see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead," read a joint statement from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. [...]Instead of a get-together with Trump, the Democratic leaders asked their Republican congressional counterparts -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin -- to meet Tuesday afternoon.The Schumer-Pelosi statement said: "We don't have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we're going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement."
In case this isn't obvious, Republicans may control the levers of federal power, but they'll need Democratic votes to pass a spending package. That, in turn, gives "Chuck and Nancy" some leverage.
If Trump is going to insult them, lie about them publicly, and make the case that he doesn't "see a deal," Pelosi and Schumer rightly assumed there wasn't much to talk to the president about.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded by calling on the Democratic leaders to "put aside their pettiness" and "stop the political grandstanding," which was more than a little hilarious given Sanders' boss.
As for voters who backed Trump because they believed he'd excel at striking deals, I have some very bad news for you.