Well, no surprise here given the President’s newfound fondness for their arch-enemy, Nancy Pelosi. But then again, are they really shocked given how little they seem to have accomplished since January? There were promises galore (albeit mostly by Trump), but nothing really materialized in terms of Trump’s big agenda items, so it looks like he’s decided to start playing both sides off each other and see which one rises to the occasion.
Politico reports on the growing discontent as Trump courts the Democratic leadership:
Donald Trump’s latest fling with Democrats has plunged the Republican Party into a state of confusion and outrage that far surpasses the frustration with his debt ceiling deal with the minority last week.
While GOP leaders were able to brush off the debt pact as no big deal, after Thursday they were reminding the president that they — not the Democrats — run Congress. Though they differed on whether to bill it as a deal, Trump and Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi agreed in some fashion that they want to shield so-called Dreamers from deportation and beef up border security, leaving the fight over the border wall for later.
That left Republicans grappling with a frightening new potential reality: that Trump will cut controversial deals with Democrats and leave them to pick up the pieces.
“As a practical matter, 533 other members of Congress are going to want to weigh in on the topic. Schumer and Pelosi, they didn’t have an agreement on the details,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). “But even if they did have an agreement, it’s not binding on anyone else.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell icily dismissed the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi talks, saying he looks “forward to receiving the Trump administration’s legislative proposal.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said there “was a discussion, not an agreement.”
The problem stems from the snail’s pace at which Congress moves. Everything takes weeks to even agree on an agreement to start thinking about debating it a little further. And very little happens in the meantime, and then nothing passes in the end. While it’s true that Congress is not meant to be a rubber stamp for any administration, they do have a responsibility to the American people not to sit on their hands while there are problems that need to be addressed. In modern times, this has meant that the minority party simply brings it to a crawl and nothing gets done. The Republicans did it during the Obama years when they held the minority, and now Democrats are doing it to President Trump.
More from the article:
After watching the Obamacare repeal effort crash and burn after seven months of work, two weeks of talks with Democrats have yielded far more action. Trump has signaled that he wants the talks to continue, and a person familiar with Wednesday night’s meeting described it as “jovial” and far more pleasant than meetings with GOP leaders.
A senior White House official said Trump doesn’t think the current Republican leadership has gotten much done and wants to change that. “He’s not OK saying, ‘Oh, we’re just not doing anything,'” this person said.
Perhaps we should look at this from a different perspective. If you’re looking at the United States Senate from the outside, who would you say is in charge? Sure, Republican Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader and basically runs the day-to-day agenda, but he still is essentially powerless unless he can muster 60 votes to pass anything and avoid a filibuster. He only has 52 Republican voters, meaning he needs at least 8 Democrats minimum to join any effort to pass anything. From Trump’s perspective, which party is really in control? As Trump already put it in a tweet not so long ago:
….8 Dems totally control the U.S. Senate. Many great Republican bills will never pass, like Kate's Law and complete Healthcare. Get smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
And is he wrong? If McConnell has been unable to successfully navigate his own chamber and get anything passed, it’s not surprising that after watching it for seven months, Trump has decided to get off the sidelines and start planning dinner parties with his opposition.