Trump advances deal-making with Democrats

Erica Werner and Ken Thomas
Associated Press

Washington — President Donald Trump pressed ahead on making deals with Democrats on Thursday, acting on a request from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on immigration in the aftermath of his agreement with the minority party to keep the government operating and raise the nation’s debt limit.

After battling with Republican leaders during the summertime, Trump has emerged from the Labor Day holiday in a deal-making mode. He offered reassurances on Thursday to young immigrants on Pelosi’s behalf, tweeting that those covered by the federal program “have nothing to worry about.”

Pelosi told reporters that Trump tweeted the message at her request to make clear that the “Dreamers” wouldn’t be deported during the six-month period that Congress has to act. The message followed the Trump administration’s announcement earlier this week that it was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but giving Congress six months to take action on it.

The White House later said that Trump had also spoken by phone on Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

“The president is committed to working across the aisle and doing what is needed to best serve the American people,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who noted that the president would be dining Thursday night with Ryan.

Yet the overtures to Democrats, including Trump’s courting of Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota during a tax event in her home state, underscored the discord at the highest ranks of the Republican party.

Trump’s decision to side with the Democratic leaders — “Chuck and Nancy,” as he amiably referred to them later — as they pushed for the three-month deal brushed aside the urgings of GOP leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a much longer extension to the debt limit. Republicans want that longer allowance to avoid having to take another vote on the politically toxic issue before the 2018 congressional elections.

Ryan sought to defuse the tensions, saying the deal the president cut with Democrats on spending, the debt and Harvey aid made sense, with one devastating storm in Texas and another looming along the Florida coast.