US President Donald Trump pledged to "take care" of North Korea after its latest ballistic missile launch -the first after a two-month hiatus - which his Pentagon chief said was its highest yet, signifying an expanded threat.
Schumer and Pelosi pulled out of the meeting, saying the "best path forward" was to keep negotiating with Republican leadership. They begged Mr. McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, to join them in direct negotiations without the president involved.
"Meeting with "Chuck and Nancy" today about keeping government open and working", the President wrote on Twitter. "I don't see a deal".
In fact, in 2010, McConnell-then the Senate minority leader-skipped dinner with President Barack Obama in favor of a meal with the conservative Federalist Society. The last time Schumer, Pelosi, Ryan and McConnell huddled at the White House, Trump's bipartisan outreach benefited Democrats, earning them a short-term extension on government spending and setting up this latest funding deal showdown. Or will they vote against it and shut down the government?
Pelosi and Schumer are resisting the tax cuts and will look to work with several Republican lawmakers who have been critical of Trump and tax reform plans that they argue do little for small business, an issue that is seen as critical to the GOP's prospects at 2018 mid-term elections.
"The president's invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work", she said.
And on Capitol Hill, some progress was made on Tuesday during talks on the Republican tax bill. "We had a phenomenal meeting with the Republican senators", he said.
Congress has until December 8 to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown and Senate Republicans are expected to bring their tax bill to a vote this week. "If it happens, it's going to be over illegals pouring into the country, crime pouring into the country, no border wall - which everybody wants".
The other reason why this is a bad move for the Democrats is that there's no lock on who will take the blame if a shutdown occurs. "If that happens, it's going to be over illegals pouring into the country, crime pouring into the country, no border wall which everybody wants".
How this increases the potential for a shutdown: Trump's sticking on issues important to his base makes him less likely to compromise with Democrats, who want to advance polar opposite issues important to their base.
As McConnell prepared to leave for the meeting at the White House, he said Pelosi and Schumer's protest demonstrated a "lack of seriousness".
But the president's extraneous tweets and quips have diverted attention from Trump's agenda at a time of maximum effect for his tax proposal and with a series of looming budget deadlines and other priorities in Congress. Wednesday's tweets came hours before Trump was departing for Missouri to rally support for his tax plan in the Senate.