President Trump tore into congressional Republicans Friday for their failure to pass big legislation, effectively firing back at critics griping about his dealings this week with Democratic leaders.
“Republicans, sorry, but I've been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn't happen! Even worse, the Senate Filibuster Rule will … never allow the Republicans to pass even great legislation. 8 Dems control - will rarely get 60 (vs. 51) votes. It is a Repub Death Wish!” he tweeted.
At the same time, Trump tried to light a fire under GOP lawmakers to get to work on his next big agenda time: Tax reform.
“Republicans must start the Tax Reform/Tax Cut legislation ASAP. Don't wait until the end of September. Needed now more than ever. Hurry!” he tweeted.
The president stunned GOP leadership on Wednesday by agreeing to demands by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to attach a short-term debt-ceiling and spending measure to Hurricane Harvey relief funds. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and others had wanted a longer-term debt deal, but were overruled by the president.
The president followed that up by reportedly discussing the prospect with Schumer and Pelosi of scrapping the debt ceiling entirely – to boot, he tweeted assurances to so-called “dreamers” on Thursday at Pelosi’s request.
Ryan, who dined Thursday with Trump, later dismissed reports that he was furious at the president. But, speaking with Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” he said he would oppose any deal to eliminate the debt ceiling.
"As imperfect as this tool is, I always see this as a good tool for fiscal discipline," Ryan said. "I like the fact that Congress controls the power of the purse and that gives us opportunities for fiscal discipline."
Yet Trump’s discussions with Democrats reflect a growing frustration with Capitol Hill Republicans, who repeatedly have been unable to pass legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act – as referenced in Friday’s tweet.
Further, Trump for months has prodded Republicans to lower the 60-vote standard needed to pass controversial legislation to a simple 51-vote majority. This is the “Filibuster Rule” he mentioned on Friday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., though, has long been resistant to changing those rules – perhaps concerned it could come back to hurt the party whenever the GOP is in the minority. Further, the last ObamaCare overhaul bill was not subject to the 60-vote standard and failed anyway.
But Trump has been struggling to pass elements of his agenda through the GOP-controlled Congress. A source told Fox News that in striking the short-term debt-ceiling deal, Trump wanted to clear the decks so he could get Congress to focus on tax reform – his big legislative agenda item this fall, which he touted during a speech late Wednesday in North Dakota.
Trump also tweeted a warning Friday to residents in the path of Hurricane Irma.
“Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen. Be safe and get out of its way,if possible. Federal G is ready!” he wrote.
Fox News' John Roberts contributed to this report.