McConnell Still Doesn’t Have Tax Bill Votes

President Donald Trump, center, walks with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Trump’s discussions with lawmakers on taxes and the budget (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

The top Republican in the Senate says the GOP is still trying to round up the votes for the tax bill, calling the process a “challenging exercise.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday, “I’m sitting here with a Rubik’s cube trying to get to 50” votes. He made the comments after President Donald Trump met with Senate Republicans at their weekly luncheon.

McConnell also complained about the top Democrats who have backed out of a White House meeting after Trump attacked them on Twitter. McConnell said he struck him as a “lack of seriousness.”

McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan were heading to the White House to meet with Trump and discuss averting a government shutdown next week and dealing with several other end-of-year issues.


2:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump has left the Capitol after meeting with Senate Republicans to rally support for a sweeping tax bill.

Applause could be heard from the closed-door session on Tuesday as the meeting wrapped up. With no major legislative achievement, Trump is pushing hard for the GOP to deliver a tax cut bill to him by the end of the year.

Republicans face divisions within their ranks over the tax bill, with some GOP lawmakers fearful of adding to the nation’s $20 trillion debt and others worrying about the impact on small businesses.

Trump was scheduled to meet later at the White House with top Republican leaders from Congress. Democrats backed out of the session after Trump’s attack on Twitter.


12:40 p.m.

The White House says it is “disappointing” that congressional Democratic leaders are pulling out of a meeting with President Donald Trump following his Twitter attack on them.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump’s invitation for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to join Republican leaders at the White House on Tuesday still stands.

Sanders says the president “encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work.”

Trump’s meeting with Republican leaders will go on as scheduled, as they discuss critical year end issues like funding the government, immigration policy, and tax reform.

Says Sanders: “If the Democrats believe the American people deserve action on these critical year-end issues as we do, they should attend.”


12:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived on Capitol Hill for a meeting with Senate Republicans to promote his tax plan.

Trump’s address to a Senate GOP luncheon comes shortly after Democratic leaders pulled out of a planned meeting later in the day with Trump at the White House.

Trump had been expected to discuss upcoming congressional deadlines to fund the government with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

But the president tweeted earlier in the day that he didn’t “see a deal” with the Democratic leaders. Schumer and Pelosi said they wouldn’t attend the meeting so as to not waste time.

Trump is searching for a win in Congress on his tax bill, which is expected to face a Senate vote later this week.


12:35 p.m.

The top Republicans in Congress say they’re heading to the White House Tuesday afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump even though top Democrats have backed out of the meeting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a joint statement that Democrats are “putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics.”

Ryan and McConnell said that if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will attend the White House meeting.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pulled out of the meeting hours after Trump attacked them on Twitter, accusing them of being soft on crime and declaring “I don’t see a deal!” Schumer and Pelosi said they didn’t want to waste time.


11:30 a.m.

Top Democratic leaders in Congress have abruptly pulled out of a planned meeting with President Donald Trump after he attacked them on Twitter.

Trump tweeted early Tuesday that “I don’t see a deal!” with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Schumer and Pelosi are shooting back with a statement asking for talks with top GOP leaders in Congress.

They said, “given that the president doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead.”

Congress faces a Dec. 8 deadline to pass stopgap legislation to keep the government open.

They added, “we don’t have any time to waste.”


9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is casting doubt on whether he and congressional leaders can agree to keep the government funded.

Trump is meeting with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss budget and immigration issues.

But, in a tweet, Trump cast doubt on whether they can agree to fund the government beyond a Dec. 8 deadline.

Says Trump: “I don’t see a deal!”

Trump says Democrats “want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes.”

Trump also portrays the meeting as being with Democrats “Chuck and Nancy.” Those are Trump’s nicknames for Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Republican leaders — House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — are also attending the meeting.


3:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is heading to Capitol Hill to rally Senate Republicans on taxes. Then he’ll pivot to negotiations with Democrats pressing for victories of their own in a separate, high-stakes showdown over the budget and immigration.

After 10 months in office, Trump is still seeking his first marquee win in Congress, but the White House and GOP leaders have work to do to get their tax bill in shape for a vote later this week. Party deficit hawks pressed for a “backstop” mechanism to limit the risk of a spiral in the deficit.

On a separate track is a multi-layered negotiation over a huge Pentagon budget increase sought by Trump and Republicans and increases for domestic programs demanded by Democrats.

Nov 28. 2:40 PM EDT AP


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