Lindsey Graham had dinner with Trump and a few other administration officials last night at the Tump Hotel in Washington.
At dinner, Lindsey upped the ante in the fight with Nancy Pelosi (Schumer will go along with what Pelosi decides) over the border wall.
The fight, contrary to media reports is far from over and has just moved to a different venue – conference committee – before the three-week deadline hits.
Lindsey told Trump to checkmate the Democrats and tie funding to the wall with raising the debt ceiling – another fight Congress must have by the first week in March.
This move, threatening to have the USA default on its debt obligations would terrify the Democrats and many in the GOP and might be the pressure needed to get consensus.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the President, told CNN that he spoke with Trump at dinner Monday night about “what would a good deal look like” as lawmakers attempt to negotiate an agreement to stave off another government shutdown — and floated the possibility that raising the debt limit could be part of the negotiation.
Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina, said he is “hopeful we can solve more than one problem” and added “I think the President understands we need to raise the debt ceiling. It comes due in March, so why not just expedite things.”
Taking such a step would amount to a dramatic move by the President: He could dare Democrats to block funding for the border wall and risk sending the country into default in the process. Graham said agreeing to one big package could clear the decks of the thorny issues facing Congress in the weeks ahead.
“His wall money is necessary. His barrier money,” Graham said. “We’ve got to raise the debt ceiling in March. So Mnuchin was there telling us about that. We’ve got to come up with a budget agreement. If you want to continue to get the military refurbished and rebuild it, then we need to end the last two years of sequestration.”
He added, “so there’s a package we could put together that would solve several problems. My thought is while we’re talking about all these things that are coming due pretty soon, let’s think bigger rather than smaller.”
When asked if the President wants to include the debt ceiling as part of a broader agreement, Graham said, “I don’t speak for him. I’m just saying, we talked about a package and I think the President basically believes that his priority of barrier funding can be achieved solving other problems also.”
In other words, the real negotiations have only just begun.