(WASHINGTON) — One week after allying himself with Democratic congressional leadership on efforts to raise the debt limit and provide money for hurricane relief, President Donald Trump will host the Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for dinner at the White House to discuss DACA and health care Wednesday night.
Trump’s newfound working relationship with Schumer and Pelosi comes to the chagrin of some Republicans who last week opposed the bipartisan three-month deal to keep the government running. The president worked with Democrats despite a competing strategy backed by GOP leadership and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to push for a longer deal.
The focus of Wednesday’s dinner, according to sources familiar with the meeting, will be to discuss protections for so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which the administration said last week it would end in six months. The trio will also talk about efforts to stabilize health insurance markets.
Ahead of her dinner with Trump, Pelosi and other top House Democrats huddled with House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on a potential legislative fix for DACA.
“It’s a move to press him to bring legislation to the floor and highlight the importance of the issue and the fact that we can’t wait,” Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus told ABC News ahead of the meeting. “The uncertainty is unhealthy for the country it’s unhealthy for the Dreamers, it’s something we should dispose of since there’s will on the Republican side.”
On the issue of the DACA program and the status of the Dreamers, Democrats are also preparing to collect signatures for a discharge petition to force action on the Dream Act. Democrats need 24 Republicans to sign on in order to reach the 218 threshold to bring the measure to the floor.
Pelosi told reporters it was a “good meeting,” as she left Ryan’s office for a round of votes Wednesday evening.
Trump’s Wednesday dinner with Democratic leaders follows a bipartisan White House meeting with the president and House members from both parties, including a number of key moderate House Democrats. Trump also dined Tuesday night with several Republican and Democratic senators to discuss tax reform.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ, a leader of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, said the White House legislative affairs office invited him and other members to discuss health care, tax reform and infrastructure Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m hoping this is part of a new era of bipartisanship. Because that’s what people want,” he said.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY, the other co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, is among the Republicans invited to the session, along with Rep. Susan Brooks, R-In.
Gottheimer, who attended a bipartisan meeting at the White House last week on New York and New Jersey infrastructure projects, told reporters he planned to discuss the status of young undocumented immigrants with Trump, and push for a vote to address the expiring DACA policy.
“If there’s bipartisan support to get something done, let’s bring it to the floor and get legislation passed,” he said.
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