GOP bristles at Mnuchin’s debt plea: Do it for me

 
“His performance was incredibly poor, and his last words, and I quote, were ‘vote for the debt ceiling for me,’ ” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group that opposed the bill.

“It was a very arrogant lecture that turned off more of the conference,” added another RSC member. “I’m less sold than when I walked into the meeting.”

Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a Freedom Caucus member, called the comments "unhelpful" and "intellectually insulting."

Mnuchin's presentation was "about as well received as his wife's Instagram post," Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) quipped to The Hill, referring to a recent controversy about social media posts by the Treasury secretary's actress wife.

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Some lawmakers responded to Mnuchin’s remark with a reminder that they work for their constituents and not for him. Things got worse when Mnuchin left the meeting early for other appointments, leaving behind at least a dozen lawmakers who had lined up to ask questions.

“They had a tough meeting. It was a rough crowd, but they’re our friends,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).

President Trump put members of his party in an uncomfortable position this week when he struck a deal with congressional Democrats to include the short-term fiscal fixes in a must-pass piece of legislation providing disaster relief for communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Republican leadership had hoped to have a longer debt extension, taking the issue off the table until after the 2018 midterm elections. But conservatives were upset that the debt ceiling did not include any of their ideas capping spending or reforming regulations.

Mnuchin and White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyBudget chief: Trump won't sign GOP tax plan 'if our numbers show' middle class will pay more Live coverage: Day two of the Ways and Means GOP tax bill markup West Coast Dems lead call to fund early warning system for earthquakes MORE — a founding member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus — came to the Capitol on Friday morning to sell the House Republican Conference on the deal.

Mulvaney attempted to defuse the situation with humor and chuckled along with gibes from his former colleagues, who reminded him that he had argued and voted against similar measures when he was a congressman.

One member even joked that the entire 40-member House Freedom Caucus should go work for the White House, given its moderating effect on their views.

Members were also dismayed that the administration didn't seem prepared with any sort of strategy for the next debt and spending showdown, now set for December.

“If it wasn’t so serious, it would have been a comedy,” Costello said.

Minutes after the meeting ended, the disaster relief, debt and spending package passed the House with bipartisan support, including votes in favor from the majority of House Republicans. Ninety Republicans voted "no."

Scott Wong contributed. This story was updated at 11:22 a.m.