Congressional leaders and top Trump administration officials began working quickly Tuesday to cut a two-year budget deal to avoid blunt spending cuts and a potential debt default, a surprisingly positive development amid unending gridlock.
President Donald Trump dispatched Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting budget chief Russ Vought to meet with top House and Senate leaders on Tuesday morning. The discussions lasted more than two hours, which was itself notable, and Mulvaney said the leaders will meet again on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have some differences, but there’s good progress being made,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “We have certain domestic needs that are very important to us. And they have — look, we’re trying to come to an agreement.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the meeting “very encouraging” and said his hope was to clinch the deal by the end of the day.
“My perception is everyone would like this,” McConnell said on Tuesday afternoon after a party lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.