(NBC News) – President Trump heads to St. Louis today to sell the public on his tax plan, but the question is whether he can sell skeptical republicans.
The two most skeptical republicans voted for his tax plan after President Trump showed up in person. “It was very, very special, the comradery. It was somewhat of a lovefest,” said President Trump.
But there was no lovefest on Capitol Hill. Three dozen people arrested outside the room where the vote took place yesterday.
Now leaders are trying to sweeten the deal to address concerns that small businesses and low income Americans would pay more.
But it is still unclear whether it can pass the full senate. “Every single member of the Republican conference is working to get to yes,” said Senator John Cornyn, (R) Texas.
Democrats said no – boycotting a meeting with the president after he tweeted “I don’t see a deal” on budget and immigration. “Cannot negotiate year end spending bill without person who signs bill in the room,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R) Kentucky.
Democrats called the empty chairs a stunt. “These issues are far too serious for these kinds of games,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (R) New York.
With no deal, the budget runs out next week, prompting a possible government shutdown.
But aides tell NBC despite the empty chairs, republicans are working with democrats behind closed doors and they already have a budget outline in place.