Frustrated McConnell puts the screws to White House

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invited fellow Republicans to a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney Wednesday in hopes of coming to a meeting of the minds on the White House’s two year spending deal, according to The Hill.

“McConnell brought in Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and several appropriations ‘cardinals,’ the chairmen of powerful subcommittees, to underscore his argument that a two-year deal on spending caps is essential to avoiding big cuts to defense spending at year’s end,” The Hill reported.

Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Interior subcommittee, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee, Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), chairwoman of the Legislative Branch subcommittee, John Boozman (R-Ark.), chairman of the Military Construction subcommittee, and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), chairman of the Agriculture subcommittee, also attended the meeting, according to The Hill.

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, the purpose was to find a way to get Democrats to accept the White House’s two year spending propositions.

The same source said that Shelby and Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), who serves as the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, have worked out a possible deal. Shelby told reporters that Mnuchin and Mulvaney will bring a proposal back to President Donald Trump to review and that Senate Republicans will pass along a new Republican offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“We will be meeting again,” Shelby said. “We discussed things in pretty good detail.”

“Did we crystalize it? No. We didn’t think we’d crystalize it today but we’re making some progress but we have some unanswered questions that need to be answered,” he added.

“We’re going to have to be looking at spending caps or sequestration. Sequestration would be devastating to national security in a troubled world we live in,” Shelby said, summarizing the argument that GOP senators are making to the White House.