The dinner is the second bipartisan meal the president has hosted this week as he moves forward with his fall agenda.
President Trump is hosting a dinner with Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D- NY) and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday night. Amid the constant rifts between the Democrat and Republican Party, the latest move by the president sends out a message of extending an olive leaf to work with his adversaries.
According to White House aides, the president will discuss immigration issues and health care. Despite objections from Republicans—the two Democratic leaders were invited to dinner after the president reached an agreement with Schumer and Pelosi—on a three-month agreement to raise the debt ceiling, keep the government running and speed hurricane relief to states. Trump and the congressional leaders are expected to discuss the fall deadlines facing Congress.
Trump has invited key Democrats to the White House on three occasions within a two-week span to discuss major legislative priorities that have divided congressional Republicans. Schumer and Pelosi reportedly persuaded Trump at their last White House meeting to agree to their terms on spending levels and the debt limit.
White House aides report the meeting will likely focus on passage of the Dream Act, a bill to provide permanent legal protections to the roughly 800,000 enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era executive action was implemented to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. On last month, Trump announced that the program would end in March and pressed Congress to enact a permanent fix to the issue of “dreamers.”
Trump has said he’s simply doing “what the people of the United States want to see. They want to see some dialogue.”
Congressional aides said Schumer and Pelosi are expected to discuss DACA, specifically in the context of protections for young immigrants and stabilizing the health care markets. In public displays of contention via Twitter and media outlets—Trump is no stranger to publicly chastising the Republican-led Congress’ and has given Congress six months to come up with a solution before he ends a program that protects young immigrants from deportation living in the country illegally, many of them brought here as children.
The dinner with Pelosi and Schumer is the latest example of Trump’s bipartisan push. On Tuesday night, Trump had dinner with Republican and Democratic senators to discuss his planned tax overhaul and was meeting on Wednesday with a group of moderate members of Congress from both parties.
In an unexpected move last week, Trump overruled Republican leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the debt ceiling agreement. In a seemingly generous act, Trump scheduled a flight for Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota to her home state on Air Force One. At Pelosi’s request, Trump would later offer reassurances to young immigrants via Twitter clarifying that “Dreamers” covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would “have nothing to worry about” over the next six months.
In an interview with The Associated Press, House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R-WI), said that while he wanted a longer-term deal on the debt ceiling, the president was in search of a “bipartisan moment” with lawmakers and his approach was reasonable.
“It’s only fitting that the president listens to the other party. He didn’t violate a principle. He did what he thought was right for the country at the moment,” Ryan said.
By LeNora Millen 09-13-17