The news came out late last week — but was overshadowed by the oncoming threat of Hurricane Irma — that many Republicans are upset that President Donald Trump made a deal with — of all people — Democrats.
How could he do such a thing?
“These are the moments that can derail President Trump’s presidency,” David Bozell, a Trump supporter and president of For America told the New York Times.
Said Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, “Talk about burning bridges with the grass roots.”
But was the deal — if that’s the right term — to agree to the wishes of the Democratic leaders of Congress a fluke, a big change of policy, or a way to get things done in the wake of one massive natural disaster over Texas as the next disaster was bearing down on Florida?
One thing President Trump knows, as do many mainstream Americans, is that most of America who lives and works outside of the D.C. Beltway is fed up with partisan politics.
The deal with Congressional Democrats — that a majority of senators and representatives of both parties quickly agreed to — allows the federal government to raise the debt ceiling, fund the government until mid-December, and approve the first installment of needed emergency relief for the Gulf Coast after the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Republicans rightly want to tie any long-term debt ceiling increase to a plan to reduce the federal debt, approaching $20 trillion now.
Yet with a monstrous hurricane named Irma bearing down on the state of Florida and initially threatening damage like Harvey did two weeks prior, late last week was not the time to be arguing long-term solutions that might require weeks of negotiation and debate to get it right. There will be plenty of time for those discussions later.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans reluctantly agreed to pass the measure.
“The president can speak for himself, but his feeling was we needed to come together to not create a picture of divisiveness at at time of genuine national crisis,” McConnell told reporters after the deal was announced and before the Senate passed the measure 80-17 Sept. 6. The House passed it 316-90 Sept. 8.
Divisiveness and partisanship has been a hallmark of the Congress and the presidency in recent years. While Congress and the president do need to take steps to reduce long-term debt, pass tax reform and make other reforms Republicans are pushing for, Trump’s actions prevented a bitter and divisive fight at a time when the nation needed a show of unity.