President Donald Trump’s move to side with Democrats on their plan to tie aid for Hurricane Harvey to a three-month debt limit increase has stunned many congressional Republicans, from members of the party’s leadership who sat in on the meeting to GOP representatives who were pushing for at least a 12-month increase.
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said he “gasped” when he heard the news and had to seek clarification before he believed the President had sided with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over GOP leadership.
“I will tell you that I gasped when I heard it. In fact, I sought clarification when the President told us before the flight — I sought clarification to make sure I understood that applied to the debt ceiling and the CR (continuing resolution), and not just the CR,” he said. “When we received that confirmation, I said, ‘Wow.’ I was at a dinner last night where that was not in anybody’s dream.”
Despite being sidelined by the President’s move, Cramer — who made the comments on board Air Force One Wednesday evening on his way back from his visit to his home state with the President — said he trusts Trump.
“For me personally, I trust the President’s negotiating ability. I think he felt this was the best deal he could get,” he said. “The speaker and the leader felt the same, or they wouldn’t have agreed to it. Now it’s going to be a tough sell in our conference, there is no question about it.”
He said he “gasped” because he’d had “enough conversations with members over the last couple of days to know they wanted to go at least outside of next November.”
“Voting to raise the debt ceiling more than once in an election cycle is too many and once is about one too many,” he told reporters.