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Trump attacks Republican leaders over debt ceiling

27 August 2017

The wave could be big enough to overcome that GOP advantage, but it will nearly certainly be close, which means that if Trump's fights with Congress cost his party even a couple of seats, that could determine who controls the House.

Trump says he had advised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan to link passage of legislation raising the debt ceiling to a measure on veterans affairs that he signed on August 12.

Mr Trump turned up the heat Thursday on Republican leaders in Congress, accusing them of dragging their feet when it comes to his key priorities. They want to accomplish a different agenda, an agenda that includes, as the WSJ helpfully notes, "lifting the debt ceiling, funding the government, and passing a budget outline that sets the stage for tax reform". I understand that. But the bigger picture is, what is the Republican Party?

Beyond the challenge of the debt limit, the effort to avoid a government shutdown could be complicated by Trump's long-promised plan to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

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Asked Friday what the president meant to accomplish by attacking members of his own party, press secretary Huckabee Sanders responded: "I think it's clear that the end game is for Congress to do its jobs and actually pass legislation". A shutdown would be in no one's interest. "I'm making a broader point than that", Danforth said.

As allies in corporate America and the Republican establishment pull away from Trump and he declines in national polls, the president is increasingly dependent on a core following for whom his campaign vow of a border wall remains a visceral issue. His unorthodox and controversial style of politics creates more political incentives for Republicans to take a stand against his presidency.

"Clearly we've had dozens of occasions when the debt limit has been raised in the past, and we don't expect this time to be any different", says Charles Seville, senior director at Fitch Ratings. "We aren't quite there".

All that Trump did in his election campaign was to mimick regular politicians (his best public performance was only on TV) and instinctively pick up slogans that appealed to him and to people who thought like him.

Trump Phoenix Rally Border Wall
Treasury exhausts the last of its options to remain current on all of the federal government's obligations. Greg Walden, R-Ore., while speaking during a visit to Intel in Hillsboro, Ore., Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.

"I'm not anxious that's not going to get done because it's going to get done", Ryan said during an appearance in Washington state.

Trump's promises and threats are often hollow.

During a feisty rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, Mr Trump warned he would shut down the government if Congress doesn't approve $1.6 billion in funding for his wall with Mexico.

Trump sees leverage because the government's funding will run out in September if Congress doesn't pass another budget extension. "He can veto a bill without it, but then he'd be responsible for the shutdown".

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The most important fact to keep in mind is that Trump will not be on the ballot in 2018, but Republican members of Congress will.

Such talks are unlikely to yield a close personal relationship between the two leaders. And two weeks earlier it was Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci who left in a flurry of very pubic obscenities after just eleven days in that post. If he spends three more years blaming Republican leaders in Congress for the lack of a wall, why would that prompt new suspicion?

If Trump digs in on this demand, there are a few possible outcomes. If they fail to do this, Trump argued, "few bills will be passed" because bills that require a supermajority-60 votes-to progress need at least eight Democrats to jump aboard.

"They are equally hated in the country", Stone said. "The wall is a nonstarter", a senior Democratic Senate aide said. They even repeat Democratic lies in defense of capitulating. And if he thinks he's having a hard time now, just imagine what it would be like if Democrats controlled the House and they had the ability to stop every piece of legislation that Republicans propose - not to mention subpoena power. And shorn of its platitudes, bombast and clumsiness, President Trump's much awaited policy speech on Afghanistan was so much a continuation of previous USA policy that sighs of relief were heard around many capitals.

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Trump attacks Republican leaders over debt ceiling