President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is not “happy” with the deal congressional lawmakers cut this week to avert a government shutdown with funding a southern border wall but vowed to build the barrier anyway.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown. If you did have it it’s the Democrats fault,”Trump also told reporters at the White House.
A White House official told NBC News earlier Tuesday that even if Trump signs off on the newly reached bipartisan agreement to keep the government open, other options are still on the table to build a more substantial barrier.
Separately from any executive action to find more money, Trump has also kept the door open to declaring a national emergency to fund the wall, which would likely draw legal challenges.
The government is set to run out of funding again later this week after having been partially shut down for 35 days earlier this year — the longest shutdown in U.S. history. That shutdown occurred because lawmakers did not provide Trump with his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. But Trump eventually relented and signed a short term funding package, set to expire Friday.
Over the weekend, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the administration would secure the border, one way or another.
“We’ll take as much money as [Congress] can give us, and then we will go off and find the money someplace else legally in order to secure that southern barrier,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”
Mulvaney added on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that regardless of what money Congress provides, Trump will “do whatever he legally can to secure that border.”
On Monday, a bipartisan group of congressional negotiators announced they reached an “agreement in principle” to avert another shutdown and further fund border security, though it would not include money for a concrete wall.
The agreement would provide nearly $1.4 billion for new border fencing, which could include steel slats and other “existing technologies,” and an additional $1.7 billion for other Homeland Security priorities like new technology and more customs officers, multiple sources told NBC News. The deal funds about 55 miles of new border barrier, and Democrats dropped a demand to cap the number of beds for undocumented immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We reached an agreement in principle,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters. “Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to be putting all the details together, and that’s all we can tell you now.”
House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday that the bipartisan group “put together a deal that we think is fair, that represents our values and will do the job.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called it “good news” in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, while a trio of GOP senators urged Trump to support the agreement.
“I look forward to reviewing the full text as soon as possible, and hope the Senate can act on this legislation in short order,” McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor.
Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., all said Trump should get on board with the deal, because it gives the president what he asked for.
Each of those Republicans voted last month for a Democratic-led proposal to briefly reopen the government without providing Trump the more than $5 billion he demanded in wall funding, though they would not say Tuesday whether they would break with the president if he came out against, or ultimately vetoed, compromise legislation.
At least one Democrat was wary of providing Trump with 55 miles of new border barrier. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the additional barrier “could be” a deal breaker for him.
“I have to see exactly what it is,” he said. “Look, the people of Texas by and large, just like the people of this country, do not want a border wall and that includes fencing. And so I’m going to have to take a very hard and close look at it.”
Speaking with Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday, Trump said he could not go into the details of the agreement, which was reached just prior to his interview.
But some of Trump’s allies were apoplectic about the agreement. Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his Monday program that the deal was trash.
“$1.3 billion? That’s not … even a wall, a barrier,” he said, asking how any Republican could support “this garbage compromise.”
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said on Twitter Tuesday that “it’s clear” Trump “should take executive action” to secure the border.