Trump doesn’t invite key Dems to signing ceremony on their bill
President Trump did not invite three Senate Democrats who co-authored legislation loosening banking rules to a White House signing ceremony on Thursday, according to aides for the senators.
Two of the senators not invited, Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), are in hotly contested Senate races in this fall’s midterm elections, the results of which could help determine the Senate majority.
Trump has also been in a personal feud with Tester, who he blamed for the withdrawal of his nominee to lead the Veterans Affairs Department (VA).
The third senator and co-author of the banking bill not invited to the signing ceremony was Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), another co-author who faces a difficult reelection race this fall, was invited to the ceremony, according to an aide.
Senators often want to attend signing ceremonies, which can effectively serve as victory laps for legislative wins. Tester and Donnelly could have used Thursday’s event to tout their bipartisan credentials to voters in their states, which Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.
Aides to Warner and Tester did not explain the reason for snub, while a Donnelly aide said his office “was told by the White House he would not be receiving an invitation due to space constraints.”
Warner, Tester and Donnelly were key Democratic forces behind the bipartisan bill to exempt scores of banks from strict federal regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act, a law Trump had promised to “dismantle” soon after his 2016 election. The legislation passed the Senate in March before clearing the House on Tuesday.
Trump had pledged to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank upon taking office, but the narrow GOP majority in the Senate made it near impossible for Republicans to pass a Dodd-Frank rollback without the support of moderate Democrats.
Warner, Tester, Donnelly and Heitkamp spent years working with Republicans to loosen banking rules enacted by President Obama in 2010.
Both Warner and Tester have come into conflict with Trump.
Warner, the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, plays a leading role in the panel’s investigation of Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election and potential connections between the president’s campaign and the Kremlin. Trump has insisted that there was no illegal contact or collusion between Russian nationals and his campaign.
Tester in April had revealed a slew of accusations of improper behavior made against Adm. Ronny Jackson, Trump’s then-nominee to lead the VA.
Trump has held political rallies targeting Tester and Donnelly in their home states over the past month to support the senators’ Republican challengers.
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