Trump last week signed legislation that tied $15.25 billion in emergency assistance to the victims of Hurricane Harvey to an agreement that funds the government until December 8 and also extends the debt ceiling for that duration.
After failing to repeal Obamacare, Republican leaders are publicly optimistic that they'll be able to pivot to tax reform with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying last week he expected a new tax policy to be enacted by the New Year.
The lawmakers - three from each major party - were invited to discuss the issue Congress is looking to take up following deals reached last week on the debt ceiling and spending. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of IN, as well as Republican Sens.
The second-most important goal is a simplified tax code, followed by the need for tax incentives to repatriate foreign earnings and lowering the capital gains tax rate.
Toomey told reporters after the two-hour gathering that it was a "constructive" evening in which the three Democratic legislators in attendance signaled openness to considering a "considerably" lower top tax rate on American businesses. Half of Republican voters, 50 percent, say that Trump's decision to target members of his own party for criticism helps the country, while just 32 percent of GOP voters want Trump to lay off and focus his fire on Democrats.
Donnelly is considered among the most vulnerable Democratic senators facing re-election next year because he represents a state Trump won by 19 percentage points in the 2016 presidential race.
Another key difference from the health care process: The White House has been consulting with various conservative groups in advance of any legislative plan.
'I think that we would love to have enough bipartisan support to get 60 vote, ' Short said on Tuesday morning.
The lack of progress has eroded hopes of completing tax reform before the end of 2017 and frustrated efforts to pass a budget resolution containing a vital procedural tool needed to move tax legislation forward on a simple majority in the Senate, which Republicans control by only 52 to 48 seats.
"No more platitudes. Let's see some meat on the bone", Kennedy said. "And to me, doing that in the springboard of primary season for 2018 is extremely unwise", Bannon said. And I'm exhausted of screwing around.