President Donald Trump disputed Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's assertion that the President had '"excessive expectations" for legislative progress of his agenda, exhibiting further tension between the White House and Congress over Republicans' failure to pass health care legislation.
"Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?" Trump tweeted Wednesday in an apparent reference to Republicans' campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Senator Mitch McConnell said I had "excessive expectations," but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media and a close aide to Trump, also hit back earlier Wednesday against the Kentucky Republican. Scavino, who has ardently defended the President against critics in the past, posted McConnell's exact remarks on his personal Twitter and added his own take.
"More excuses. @SenateMajLdr must have needed another 4 years - in addition to the 7 years -- to repeal and replace Obamacare," Scavino wrote.
McConnell made the comments Tuesday at an event Kentucky. In what was perceived as another criticism of Trump, McConnell said that there's a misperception that Congress is under-performing in part "because of too many artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality of the legislature, which may have not been understood."
Scavino's tweet echoes Twitter attacks that Trump himself has made against congressional Republicans. Late last month, the weekend after the Senate failed to pass a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Trump made a series of tweets attacking Republicans and urging them to change Senate rules to allow bills to pass with a 51-vote majority, rather than 60.
"Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don't go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time," he wrote in one tweet.
However, Republicans were already operating under "budget reconciliation," which would have allowed them to pass health care legislation with a 51-vote majority. And since Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, they could have passed it if the party was united, but three Republicans defected and the bill failed to advance.
Reconciliation can only be used once each fiscal year, and if Republicans want to use it again on upcoming legislative efforts like tax reform, they must first pass a budget for the fiscal year 2018.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who was asked about McConnell's comments on Fox News, also disagreed that the President had "excessive expectations" and made the case that Democrats were to blame.
"I think the President's expectations was that we would work together to get these things done and frankly we haven't had a lot of buy in from the Democrats on this stuff, and that's too bad," he said.
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