White House: Expect more outreach to Democrats

President Trump will look for areas of compromise with Democrats as part of an effort to move his agenda forward on tax reform, infrastructure spending and healthcare, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday.

Trump angered Republicans and embarrassed GOP leaders this week when he struck a surprise deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' MORE (D-N.Y.) to temporarily raise the debt limit. 

Sanders was asked Friday whether that was a one-off deal or if Congress could expect a new bipartisan approach after Trump spent the first eight months of his presidency dealing almost exclusively with Republicans.

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“I think the goal is to have bipartisan efforts and certainly legislation where you've got Republicans and Democrats both working towards it,” Sanders said. “That was something that the president talked about during the campaign and certainly something that I think the American people expect and one of the reasons they voted for him. I certainly would expect to continue to see that.” 

Sanders pointed to tax reform and infrastructure spending as two areas where Democrats and Republicans might come together.

"The president is committed to moving legislation through," Sanders said. "He wants Congress to act. He's happy to have Democrats be part of that. Tax reform is a huge part of the agenda moving into the fall. Infrastructure is something we would love to see. He had meetings on that yesterday. We're going to continue to work with anyone willing to sit down at the table and focus on those pieces of legislation."

Sanders said the White House had not given up on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, saying that the president would be open to legislative fixes from across the aisle on that issue, too.

“If Democrats are willing to work on an actual solution, sure,” Sanders said.

Sanders also defended Trump’s debt ceiling deal with Democrats, saying it was necessary to get critical disaster relief to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“The most important thing is that the deal got done,” Sanders said. “The president acted on it. He worked with Democrats to get it done. He will continue to work with whoever is interested in moving the ball forward to help the American people.”

Some Republicans are furious over the deal, believing Trump abandoned conservative efforts to reduce spending and put them in a terrible negotiating position when it will come time to lift the debt ceiling and pass a budget at the end of the year.

“The biggest message is we're less focused on what makes Congress happy and what makes America better and strong,” Sanders said. “This was a decision he made and he was willing to work with Democrats to get it done.”