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Hisses, booing as Trump officials sell debt deal to GOP

Posted September 8

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives for a closed-door meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Republicans, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

— House Republicans hissed and booed senior Trump administration officials Friday as they pitched President Donald Trump's deal with Democrats to increase the nation's borrowing authority.

Conservatives have demanded budget cuts in exchange for any hike in the debt limit, and they were unhappy with a deal that combined more than $15 billion in disaster relief with the less palatable debt increase.

"Vote for the debt ceiling for me," Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin pleaded with Republicans on Friday at a closed-door meeting at the Capitol, according to several lawmakers.

Yet Republicans questioned why they would cast a politically risky vote for Mnuchin, who has no strong ties to Congress and also happens to be a former Democratic donor. Mnuchin is a banker and former hedge fund manager.

"Ha. He's not one of my constituents," said Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former tea-party congressman from South Carolina, took a hard line against debt increases during his years in the House. He was booed when he stepped up to speak, though at least one lawmaker said the booing was largely good-natured.

Republicans were dumbfounded earlier this week when Trump agreed with Democratic leaders on a short-term deal to increase the debt ceiling as part of a larger package to provide emergency aid for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and fund the government through Dec. 8.

Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., described a surreal scene with Mnuchin and Mulvaney pressing Republicans to rally around the disaster-aid package.

"It's kind of like, 'Where am I? What's going on here?'" Costello said. "If it wasn't so serious, it kind of would have been funny."

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., said Mnuchin's presentation in particular was not well-received by GOP lawmakers.

"It was intellectually close to dishonest in that he said, 'I understand you on the debt, I understand you on this, I feel your pain, but you've got to bail out the Treasury bill,'" Brat said.

"Everyone's moaning and groaning, like, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" Brat added.

Mulvaney defended the deal and Trump.

"It was absolutely the right thing to do," Mulvaney told reporters after speaking to the caucus. "The president is a results-driven person, and right now he wants to see results on Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and tax reform. He saw an opportunity to work with Democrats on this particular issue at this particular time."

The House backed the massive package on a 316-90 vote and sent it to Trump for his signature. All 90 votes in opposition came from Republicans.

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Associated Press writers Erica Werner and Laurie Kellman contributed to this story.

4 Comments

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  • Clarence Drumgoole Sep 8, 9:36 p.m.
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    Hissing, Booing! Sound like snakes and ghosts!

  • John Darson Sep 8, 7:58 p.m.
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    Finally..... It takes getting the Dems involved to get things done. Just look back at GW Bush and his Republican majority, aka "the Do-Nothing Congress" for doing NOTHING while holding a Republican majority. We have the same thing now. Republican's talk a BIG talk but are incapable of actually governing - 7 years talking about Repeal and Replace. What happens? - Nothing. What other major legislation has been accomplished since January?- Nothing....
    with House = Republican majority; Senate=Republican majority; President= Republican; Supreme Court=Republican. And, what do the Republicans want to do? - Blame the Dems. That is nothing but incompetent governance.

  • Wayne Hill Sep 8, 5:00 p.m.
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    Hey GOP we elected Trump for his agenda, and for you to implement. So far you have failed miserably. Something you need to consider Conservatives do not identify as Republicans any more. You have violated our trust!

    I will find out who booed and hissed and send money to your upcoming primary opponent. RINO'S MUST GO!!!

  • Nick Edwards Sep 8, 3:55 p.m.
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    There are far too many obstructionists in our congress, on both sides. They've proven time and time again that they are liars, con artists and traitors to their country.