Democrats say they plan to build on the surprise spending and debt ceiling agreement they reached with President Trump on Wednesday, by looking to win more concessions on their own agenda items in the months ahead.
"We have an effective leadership here that keeps the team together and I think it really helps," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., a longtime member who sits on the powerful House Rules Committee, told the Washington Examiner. "We are going to, as theses spending bills go forward, I think we are going to be able to exert a little more leverage than I think our Republican friends appreciate."
Democrats scored a major victory at the White House on Wednesday when they won support from Trump for a three-month increase in the nation's borrowing limit.
Trump rejected his own party's plan to lift the debt ceiling for 18 months, which Republican leaders at the meeting then tried unsuccessfully to negotiate down to six months before first daughter Ivanka Trump entered the room and the talks dissolved.
Democrats, who are the minority in both chambers, triumphantly announced the three-month deal in a press release shortly after returning to the Capitol.
Republicans notably announced nothing about the meeting. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed the deal later on, after a closed-door meeting with GOP lawmakers, and said he'd support the deal.
A House GOP aide said House Speaker Paul Ryan will take up the Senate-passed Harvey-debt ceiling package, practically guaranteeing passage thanks to overwhelming Democratic support and likely significant GOP support.
The three-month deal benefits Democrats by guaranteeing another spending cliff in December, which will give them a new opportunity to negotiate, in exchange for their votes, wish list items. Those are likely to include Obamacare funding and legislation benefiting so-called Dreamers who arrived in the United States illegally as children.
"As Democratic leaders, we also made it clear that we strongly believe the DREAM Act must come to the floor and pass as soon as possible, and we will not rest until we get this done," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said after the White House meeting.
Republicans acknowledged Trump's decision to side with Democrats has given their political opposition an unusual amount of leverage.
"I would have done it for a longer period," said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas. "I'm not criticizing the President at all. We all do it differently."
But other Republicans were less forgiving, particularly lawmakers who have long opposed Trump, including Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.
"To me that was another slap in the face of the House leadership and Senate leadership," Jones said. "We are the majority party."
House Republicans as of late Wednesday had yet to acknowledge the three-month deal. Prior to the White House meeting Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. rejected the Democratic proposal. He called it "unworkable" and "ridiculous."
But Republicans are divided on how to raise the debt ceiling, leaving them short of the votes to pass anything in the House without Democratic support. Many conservatives won't vote for borrowing limit increases unless they include spending reforms.
"Increasing the limit on a credit card without making any reforms is not a conservative solution," Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., head of the three-dozen member House Freedom Caucus, said Wednesday.
In the Senate, the filibuster rule means Republicans in the upper chamber also require Democrats to pass spending deals to reach the required 60-vote threshold.
Democrats, who have no problem sticking together, are now putting a price on their cooperation.
"We have been bailing them out time and time again over the years," McGovern told the Washington Examiner. "But in return, we get something. If you are not going to have the majority, you want to get as much as you can."