Republican Party leaders were “shell-shocked” and “visibly annoyed” after President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders announced a mutual agreement to raise the debt ceiling and fund the federal government until December, the media reported.
Trump’s stunning agreement to endorse a plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi came during a Wednesday morning meeting with leaders from both parties in the Oval Office, the first such meeting of his presidency, reports CNN.
“We essentially came to a deal and I think the deal will be very good,” Trump told the media.
Several Republicans briefed on the meeting said that Trump, who has been absent a major legislative achievement for his first seven months in office, was “hungry” for a deal.
“The President was in deal-cutting mode,” a Republican familiar with the meeting told CNN. “He was sick of this fight.”
In Wednesday’s session, Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, first pushed lifting the debt ceiling for 18 months.
With no agreement at hand, they decreased the time-frame to a year, before finally proposing a six-month extension.
Democratic leaders, however, dismissed all of their proposals, standing firm by their three-month extension plan, which they had publicly endorsed in a joint statement before the meeting.
A senior Republican source described Trump as being in “Apprentice” mode, a reference to the reality show that made the President a TV star.
“Trump just decided to listen and then make a decision on the spot,” the source told CNN.
McConnell and Ryan were “blindsided by this”, another party official said.
In fact, hours before Trump agreed to Democrats’ proposal, Ryan had publicly called such a plan “ridiculous” during a news conference.
The Republican leaders had no heads up or warning over Trump’s decision.
The US debt currently stands at around $20 trillion.
The agreement reached between Trump and Democrats also includes an assistance package for people affected by Harvey, which has killed more than 60 people and displaced thousands in the states of Texas and Louisiana.
The House on Wednesday in a 419-3 vote approved a federal aid package worth $7.9 billion for the victims of Harvey which now passes to the Senate for ratification.