With President Trump’s approval rating in the low 40s, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are struggling to push through their legislative agenda in the new year.
But even as the lawmakers face tough re-election battles, the Trump administration is also weighing a new strategy for keeping the peace.
Ryan, who is a close ally of Trump, has urged lawmakers to avoid “raging” over budget fights and instead focus on passing tax reform, infrastructure spending and other key priorities.
“The American people deserve a leader who can move our country forward and lead us forward,” Ryan said in a statement Wednesday.
“This president does not have the right temperament or judgment to be commander in chief.
I have not seen anyone in my lifetime who would do that.”
In addition, Ryan and McConnell are working to convince their fellow Republicans to take on the Trump agenda.
They are also trying to convince Democratic lawmakers to support the president in his second term.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he has been “really trying to keep a positive attitude” and that “I think [Ryan] and McConnell have a great deal of respect for each other, and that I think they have a very good chance of passing a lot of legislation.”
“I think it’s an opportunity to try to help the president succeed,” Schumer said.
“The American public wants a president who’s committed to them.”
A few Republicans have expressed skepticism about the prospects of passing tax reforms.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, told the Washington Examiner in an interview Wednesday that tax reform is not his top priority.
“My top priority is to get this economy moving again and doing it quickly, and I think it will be a long time before that happens,” Hatch said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is the only Republican senator up for re-elect this year, also said Wednesday he does not believe tax reform will pass, but he thinks the GOP can work together to pass tax reform.
“We’re going to have to work together on tax reform,” McCain told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“There’s not going to be a tax cut for the rich.”
Ryan and McConnell, both of whom have campaigned heavily for Trump, have also been criticized for taking on the president without any clear plan.
Trump has been criticized by Republicans for his failure to outline a plan for tax reform and instead has proposed slashing taxes for most Americans.
The president is also struggling to make good on a campaign promise to cut taxes for the middle class.
Ryan and Trump are on the same page about cutting taxes for families earning between $50,000 and $100,000, but there is no plan for what exactly those tax cuts would look like.