Policy

Trump’s Tweet Could Raise Odds of Government Shutdown

President aims to lessen Democrats’ leverage in year-end talks

President Donald Trump makes a brief statement to the media as Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, right, look on, after a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol to discuss the GOP’s tax reform bill earlier this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:02 p.m. | President Donald Trump raised the odds of a government shutdown next month, tweeting that his differences with Democratic leaders over immigration policy could prevent a deal on a year-end spending package.

The president noted that he was scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon with “‘Chuck and Nancy’ ... about keeping government open and working.” He was referring to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. Also set to attend the White House meeting were House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But Trump signaled any Democratic efforts to use a shutdown-averting spending measure to make some of their immigration demands law could be a deal-breaker. His signature would be required to make any fiscal 2018 funding bill law.

“Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes,” Trump wrote, adding: “I don’t see a deal!”

The president appeared to be laying down a major marker ahead of the afternoon huddle, trying to take away from Schumer and Pelosi some of the leverage he handed them in September.

In response, the Democratic leaders announced they would sit out the meeting

Watch: Schumer Talks About Skipping White House Meeting on Senate Floor

“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,” the Democratic leaders said in a statement. 

Since Trump struck a deal in September with Schumer and Pelosi, even Republicans have said he handed the Democrats most of the leverage in the year-end talks, including on their desire to use the bill to make permanent the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, or DACA. Trump wants to kill that program — created by an Obama-era executive order with the aim of extending protections to people brought illegally to the United States as children — unless it is made part of an existing law.

[Democrats Hold Cards in Year-End Talks with Trump]

“We believe we’ll get it in the omnibus bill, because there are both Republicans and Democrats who want it,” Schumer said of DACA on Nov. 14.

“I fully intend that we will not leave here without the DREAM Act passing, without a DACA fix. And we have made that very clear,” Pelosi said five days earlier in another example.

Watch: Hatch on Tax Bill Differences With House: ‘We’re Willing to Work Together’

But while the two Democratic leaders had made bold demands about getting DACA legalized via the year-end spending bill, a senior Democratic leadership aide was more measured on Monday.

That source ticked off a list of demands the party will have for the funding bill, but mentioned insisting on DACA’s inclusion only as a “maybe.”

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