The accepted spin on last week's Oval Office showdown between Republicans and President Trump is that Trump handed Democrats a major political victory.
But Republican internal divisions, not Trump, gave Democrats the bargaining power in the debate over how long to suspend the nation's borrowing limit, and it will continue to give Democrats the upper hand as Republicans try to move their faltering agenda in the weeks ahead.
The Republican plan to pass tax reform, a possible infrastructure bill, and implement federal spending reforms all face internal division that could end up stalling the GOP agenda and leaving President Trump with the sole option of turning to Democrats to get anything done.
The first test could come as early as the next few weeks, when House Republicans hope to begin consideration of the fiscal 2018 budget, which will serve as the legislative vehicle for tax reform, now the GOP's No. 1 goal.
Even last week, GOP leaders weren't sure whether they had enough support within their own party to pass a budget. They spent the August recess trying to shore up support for the proposal, but there is opposition from conservatives who are demanding more stringent spending reforms, while moderates say the plan cuts too much.
"We still have some work to do, but we are encouraged by the results we were getting over the recess," House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black, R-Tenn., said. "We are hoping to be able to get the budget done in the next couple of weeks."
As the GOP agenda falters, Democrats are leveraging their power by remaining unified and threatening to withhold their bloc of votes to help the fractured GOP get things done.
The strategy worked for Democrats last week when they convened in an Oval Office meeting Sept. 6 with GOP leaders and Trump to discuss a deal to suspend the nation's borrowing limit and provide hurricane disaster relief money.
Democrats wanted to limit the debt ceiling increase to three months in order to give them more time to negotiate a deal to pass an immigration reform bill known as the Dream Act.
Republicans wanted an 18-month debt limit suspension, but they lack the votes to pass it in the House or the Senate without Democratic support.
Many conservatives refuse to back a debt ceiling increase unless it includes significant federal spending reform.
Trump realized the only immediate deal possible was with the Democrats.
"Here, the currency of the realm is the vote," Pelosi said later. "You have the votes, no discussion necessary. You don't have the votes, three months."
The Republicans, she added, "don't have the votes; that is why we have three months."
Emboldened Democrats say they now want a standalone bill on the DREAM Act in exchange for their vote for a debt ceiling increase in December.
Pelosi said Trump has signaled to them that he would sign the bill, which would legalize young people who came to the United States illegally as children.
Pelosi acknowledged that it would probably require Democrats agreeing to additional border security funding, but she said that would not include funding for a southern border wall, which was a top priority for Trump during his 2016 campaign.
Pelosi said she has discussed "border enforcement" with Trump, "but it does not include a wall."
The potential coalition between Trump and Democrats on immigration reform threatens to leave Republicans in the dust as they struggle pass tax reform and other important legislative items.
Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, a senior member of the largest conservative faction, the Republican Study Committee, said the party has never been fully unified on anything.
"We are an independent group," Flores said. "We all have various lines of reasoning for the way we think about policies."
Dan Holler, a spokesman for the conservative Heritage Action, said Republican leaders have caused division within the party by straying too far from campaign promises including reducing government spending and repealing Obamacare.
"The division certainly gave Democrats an opportunity to swoop in," Holler said. "But it was all preceded by this unwillingness to pursue campaign promises or conservative policy agendas."
The GOP split was never more evident than on Friday, when dozens of House Republicans, including some Texans, voted against the leadership-endorsed Hurricane aid and debt ceiling package.
Republican opponents said they couldn't back a suspension of the debt ceiling without spending reforms. They also called for offsets for the $15.4 billion in disaster relief, which will now add to the debt.
"As much as I want to help Texas, I can't vote for something that is a blank check on the debt," Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said. "The same Texans who are now in distress are going to, when they get back on their feet, be part of the group paying this money back."