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

House Republicans bristled Friday at Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSchumer labels McConnell's scheduled coronavirus stimulus vote as 'a stunt' Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus Mnuchin joins Israeli delegation in Bahrain to formally normalize relations MORE’s pitch for them to vote for a three-month debt and spending extension “for me,” exacerbating divisions between Capitol Hill and the White House.
 
“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 CostelloRyan Anthony CostellloTrump struggles to stay on script, frustrating GOP again Bottom line Former GOP Rep. Costello launches lobbying shop MORE (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 ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House Republican fears grow over rising Democratic tide Bottom line MORE (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 MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump says he may lower corporate tax rate to 20 percent if reelected Is Social Security safe from the courts? On The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security 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.