Trump ignores Republicans on Democrats' debt limit and Harvey funds plan

President Donald Trump bucked his own party Wednesday and sided with Democrats to support a deal that would ensure passage of disaster relief funding as well as raising the debt ceiling and continuing to fund the government into December.

"That's what I will be offering, based on the president's decision, to the (House of Representatives) bill". "We essentially came to a deal, and I think the deal will be very good".

McConnell later suggested that Trump had pushed for the deal because "his feeling was that we needed to come together, to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis", with Harvey having devastated coastal Texas and Hurricane Irma threatening the Caribbean and Florida.

"I think its ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need", Ryan said just a few hours before Trump agreed to the deal.

Virginia GOP Rep. Dave Brat said he would support the combined Harvey and debt ceiling bill if it also included measures to limit government spending.

"We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred - very important - always we'll agree on debt ceiling automatically because of the importance of it", the president said. If not, the government would be unable to borrow more money or pay its bills, including its debt payments.

Republicans have always been anxious that Trump, who at times was a registered Democrat, would look to cut deals with the opposition party to secure victories - which he has had trouble achieving even with a Republican-led Congress. The aide also said Ivanka Trump dropped into the meeting to "say hello", and Republican leaders were visibly annoyed by her presence.

"The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad", Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said in a statement. But by the end of the meeting, Trumpsided with Democrats who wanted a three-month increase.

Left Behind: Pets in Hurricane Evacuations
Seattle Humane is one of many shelters helping to make room for pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey. They are urging people to donate to organizations, which will send supplies to affected areas.

"Congress has an ability and an obligation to act, which is why we today are calling on Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell to immediately put the DREAM Act on the floor for a vote in the House and Senate", the New York Democrat said at a press conference Wednesday.

Republican leaders had sought an 18-month extension, and later cut that to six months. That total would likely be closer if the debt ceiling and a short-term government funding bill are added to the legislation once it reaches the Senate.

Democrats, who are in the minority in Congress and no longer control the White House after eight years of the Obama administration, have succeeded in forcing that second vote on a debt limit bill later this year if the plan Trump embraced ends up passing this week.

The House passed $7.4 billion for a federal disaster-relief fund Wednesday, two days before it's set to run out.

Senate Republican leaders had planned to use the measure to suspend the debt ceiling past the November 2018 congressional elections, but Trump's move upended their strategy.

Lawmakers are facing pressing legislative priorities.

Republican Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said Trump "wasn't left with a lot of good options".

And another source briefed on the meeting told NPR's Susan Davis that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had also advocated for a longer debt ceiling hike.

  • Sonia Alvarado