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Mulvaney: Trump 'wanted to clear the decks' in deal with Dems
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney on Friday cast President Trump's decision to strike a short-term deal to raise the debt ceiling with Democrats as an attempt to "clear the decks" in order to push tax reform.
"The very first thing he was thinking was, 'Look, we have things to do,' " Mulvaney said on "Fox & Friends." "We have a hurricane, still, in Texas. ... We've got a hurricane getting ready to hit Florida, and right after we deal with that, we want to deal with tax reform."
In a meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday, Trump shocked Republicans by agreeing to a deal with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to raise the debt limit and fund the government until December, in addition to passing billions in relief for Hurricane Harvey.
Mulvaney said tax reform "is and has been and remains the president's top domestic priority, and he wanted to clear the decks so that we can deal with those three things - those two emergencies and tax reform. And to the extent that he was able to sort of move those issues off to December, I think that was a great idea."
The Senate on Thursday passed the stopgap measure to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling.
That legislation also included more than $15 billion for hurricane and disaster relief in response to the devastation caused by Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. Another storm, Hurricane Irma, is expected to make landfall in Florida on Saturday, and Hurricane Jose lingers behind it.
Trump has begun a more aggressive push for tax reform in recent weeks, making appearances in Missouri and North Dakota to pitch his plan.