Democrats pull out of White House meeting with Trump

Democratic leaders abruptly pulled out of a planned meeting at the White House with President Trump after he tweeted earlier Tuesday that he didn't "see a deal" to avoid a government shutdown.

"Given that the President doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead," House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHillicon Valley: Social media faces scrutiny after New Zealand attacks | YouTube removed 'tens of thousands' of shooting videos | DHS chief warns of state-backed cyber threats | House Dems plan April vote on net neutrality Republican senators who voted against Trump have no excuses Manchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWhy we need to build gateway now Campaign to draft Democratic challenger to McConnell starts raising funds Schumer congratulates J. Lo and A-Rod, but says 'I'm never officiating a wedding again' MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement.

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"Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked Leader [Mitch] McConnell [(R-Ky.)] and Speaker [Paul] Ryan [(R-Wis.)] to meet this afternoon. We don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement," Pelosi and Schumer added.

Trump, Schumer and Pelosi were expected to meet Tuesday afternoon with Ryan and McConnell to discuss funding the government beyond next Friday, Dec. 8, when the current funding deal expires.

"Meeting with 'Chuck and Nancy' today about keeping government open and working," Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday.

"Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!"

 

The White House said in a statement that the meeting would continue as planned, and pushed the Democratic leaders to attend, saying, "If the Democrats believe the American people deserve action on these critical year-end issues as we do, they should attend."

“It’s disappointing that Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi are refusing to come to the table and discuss urgent issues," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

"The President’s invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work. These issues are too important," she added.

Ryan and McConnell dismissed the move by Democratic leaders to skip the White House meeting and accused them of threatening a government shutdown.

"We have important work to do, and Democratic leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues. Democrats are putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics. There is a meeting at the White House this afternoon, and if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will be there," Ryan and McConnell said in a joint statement.

Despite controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans have still needed Democratic votes to pass legislation to avoid government shutdowns due to regular GOP defections in the House and the need to circumvent a filibuster in the Senate.

Pelosi and Schumer’s decision to pull out of the White House meeting on Tuesday stands in contrast to the surprise deal they made with Trump in September. Trump agreed to demands from Pelosi and Schumer to extend government funding only into December, a move that caught Republicans off guard.

Lawmakers are expected to pass a short-term funding patch within the next several days to avoid a shutdown and negotiate a longer-term measure in the coming weeks ahead of the December holidays.

As a government shutdown looms, Democrats have pushed to include a long-term fix for allowing young undocumented immigrants to remain in the country in a year-end government spending package.

The Trump administration announced earlier this year that it would end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that granted temporary work permits to certain qualifying immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

DACA recipients will face deportation if Congress doesn’t act by March. Democrats, and some Republicans, want to pass legislation addressing the fate of DACA recipients by the end of this year.

However, GOP leaders have so far resisted Democrats' demands to include a DACA fix in a bipartisan spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. Trump and Republicans in Congress have countered with calls for increased border security measures.

Republicans are also trying to send tax-reform legislation to Trump’s desk by Christmas, which will cram the already-packed congressional agenda for the last few weeks of this year.

The Senate is aiming to vote as soon as this week on its tax overhaul, following a House vote before the Thanksgiving holiday.

– Jordan Fabian contributed

- This report was updated at 1:25 p.m.