Welch among lawmakers who meet with Trump

WASHINGTON — Tax reform and immigration were among the topics of discussion when Vermont’s sole House member sat down with President Donald Trump and other lawmakers Wednesday.

“It’s good news, bad news,” Welch said shortly after the hourlong meeting at the White House.

The good news, Welch said, is that the president “stated quite explicitly the tax bill would not include tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Peter Welch
Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., in his congressional office. File photo by Elizabeth Hewitt
However, Welch said, the president’s position seems to be in conflict with information leaked from House Republicans’ closed-door tax reform negotiations.

The meeting also touched on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump recently announced he plans to terminate but has encouraged Congress to take up.

Welch said he told the story of Juan Conde, a medical student at the University of Vermont who is among those shielded from deportation under the program. Trump expressed “a good deal of sympathy” about DACA recipients, Welch said.

The meeting of about 14 representatives comes amid speculation of a renewed sense of bipartisanship from the White House. Last week Trump stunned Hill Republicans by making a deal with the minority leaders — Sen. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. — to postpone key contentious fiscal deadlines by three months.

Pelosi and Schumer are due to return to the White House on Wednesday night for dinner with the president.

But while Welch said it was “good to have the meeting,” he said he didn’t expect to see any major shift in how members of each party approach key issues.

“I don’t leave with the sense that there is a new consensus” on either the tax reform bill or immigration, he said.

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Elizabeth Hewitt

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