President Trump faces an increasingly narrow path to win major legislative victories before the looming August recess, with only two months left to revive his health-care or tax initiatives before Congress departs for a long break.
White House officials said Tuesday that Trump has become increasingly incensed that legislation is bogging down in the Senate, something they blame on Democrats. Trump wrote on Twitter that the Senate should change its long-standing rules and “switch to 51” votes to pass health-care changes and to vote on a tax bill instead of working to get 60 votes to end a potential filibuster.
But the Senate is already trying to pass health-care and tax changes with just 51 votes, something it is unable to do because of splits within the GOP.
“The hardest thing now is figuring out what can get 51 votes in the Senate,” said Stephen Moore, who was a top economic adviser to Trump during the campaign and who has urged the White House to move more quickly.
Congress also faces an increasing number of legislative distractions that could further imperil Trump’s agenda. There is a big divide among Republicans over whether they can vote to pass a budget resolution in the coming months, and failing to do so could make it much more difficult to change the tax code. In addition, White House officials are now demanding that Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling before the August break — pressing members to take a difficult vote before they head back to their districts.