Democrats and Republicans who joined President Trump at the White House on Tuesday for a bipartisan dinner and tax reform discussion emerged hopeful that compromise legislation could arise from continued outreach across the aisle.
Trump had invited three vulnerable Democratic senators and three Republican senators to meet with him this week on tax reform, which he hopes to shepherd through Congress with support from both parties.
Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana each expressed optimism that they could find aspects of the Trump administration's tax reform plan to support.
"We had a productive conversation about areas of agreement as well as areas where we will have to find compromise," Manchin said in a statement following the dinner. The West Virginian — who, like both of his minority colleagues at the dinner Tuesday, will face a tough re-election battle next year — said he would prioritize a "simpler tax code that lowers rates" but that does so "without adding to our staggering debt."
Heitkamp said she and the president had a "good discussion" at the White House dinner.
"I reinforced that any tax reform bill must support working families and family farmers so they aren't burdened with debt and it must stand up for retirees who want to live their remaining years with dignity while also simplifying the tax code and lowering compliance burdens," said Heitkamp, who recently attended a tax rally with Trump in her home state of North Dakota.
Donnelly also described his talk with Trump as "good" and stressed his desire to see a tax bill "include measures to support companies that invest in our workers and penalize companies that ship American jobs to foreign countries.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., echoed his Democratic colleagues' upbeat attitude toward the possibility of finding consensus on tax reform.
Toomey called the dinner discussion "constructive" and joined the White House in projecting optimism that Congress can tackle Trump's top legislative priority.
Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and John Thune of South Dakota also attended the meeting.
Trump has increasingly pressured lawmakers to get a tax reform bill to his desk before the end of the year. The president struck a controversial deal with Democratic leaders last week to delay the debt ceiling increase by three months in order to alleviate what could have become a legislative logjam at the end of September that prevented tax reform from moving forward.
However, the window for Republicans to pass tax reform legislation with just 51 votes in the Senate will close at the end of the month, forcing Trump to seek support from across the aisle if he hopes to make his tax plan a reality. Republicans hold just 52 seats in the upper chamber.