WASHINGTON — Top Democratic lawmakers Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday night they struck their second bipartisan deal with President Donald Trump in one week, this time on a DACA legislation package that includes border security measures but no border wall funding.
“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement after dining at the White House with the Republican president.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it said in its own statement that the president had “a constructive working dinner” with Schumer, the Senate minority leader, and Pelosi, the House minority leader, and administration officials “to discuss policy and legislative priorities,” including DACA.
Trump rescinded the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which granted young immigrants deportation reprieve but gave Congress six months to replace it with legislation.
While White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that the trio did not agree to exclude the wall, Schumer spokesman Matt House clarified: “The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement.”
The dinner meeting did not include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who on Sept. 6 met with Schumer, Pelosi and the president in the Oval Office, only to have Trump side with the Democrats on extending the debt limit and funding the government for three months.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump huddled with a bipartisan group of congressmen that included Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) — another example recent overtures to the opposition party.
Reporters before that meeting asked Trump about negative reaction from the far-right to his many meetings with Democrats in recent days.
“Well, I’m a conservative, and I will tell you I’m not skeptical,” Trump said. “If we can do things in a bipartisan manner, that will be great. . . . If you look at some of the greatest legislation ever passed, it was done on a bipartisan manner.”
Suozzi said that although specifics weren’t discussed, the bipartisanship exhibited was an important first step.
“I don’t agree with the president on everything, but I came to Washington to try to get things done,” he said.
Democrats emerged from the meeting to report positions by the president that may encourage others in their party.
The president was “very sympathetic” to the so-called Dreamers left in limbo by the elimination of DACA, Suozzi said.
And Trump himself said he isn’t pursuing tax cuts for the wealthy — a prospect that Schumer, Pelosi and other Democrats have staunchly opposed.
“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” Trump told reporters. “I think the wealthy will be pretty much where they are. . . . If they have to go higher, they’ll go higher, frankly. We’re looking at the middle class and we’re looking at jobs.”
Huckabee Sanders was asked Wednesday afternoon why McConnell and Ryan weren’t also invited to break bread with the president.
“I think it’s pretty disingenuous for people to say, ‘He’s only meeting with Democrats,’ ” she responded. “The president is the leader of the Republican Party. . . . And so the idea that the Republican Party ideas are not represented in that room is just ridiculous.”
She compared his record on working across party lines with that of former President Barack Obama.
“This president’s done more for bipartisanship in the last eight days than Obama did in eight years,” Sanders said.