The Hourglass

The “Art” of the Deal

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September 29, 2017

On the morning of Wednesday, September 6, 2017, President Donald Trump met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. This meeting took an unanticipated turn when the President made a deal with Democrats Pelosi and Schumer to the surprise and dismay of Republican leadership. The deal will provide nearly eight billion dollars in Hurricane Harvey relief and increase the debt ceiling to fund the government through December. The Republicans had been seeking an 18-month debt ceiling deal so that they would not have to revisit the issue until after the midterm elections.

Fellow Republicans were vexed by the deal, which had been rejected earlier by Speaker Ryan since it gave the Democrats leverage in upcoming policy debates. I wondered what the motivation was for Trump’s new allegiance with “Chuck and Nancy” and the Democratic caucus for which he had previously shown such contempt. I had hoped it represented a true nonpartisan effort to advance the country’s best interests in a time of crisis, but perhaps Trump was just intent on punishing the Republican leadership for failing to advance his agenda and pass any meaningful legislation. The administration has been remarkably ineffectual, despite the fact that  Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches of government. Perhaps Trump was just craving a deal, a win.  He clearly seems to care less about protecting the Republican brand than scoring a personal victory.  Regardless, there is now an opportunity for the Democrats to work with the White House on other pressing issues.  Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump, for example, have also apparently agreed on a framework for protecting the Dreamers from deportation.  The question remains, however:  does this new sentiment represent a true sea change or is it just another Trumpian impulse that will be abandoned as quickly as it was embraced?

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The “Art” of the Deal