- REUTERS/Leah Millis
- President Donald Trump reportedly intends to sign the border security deal negotiated by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to avoid another government shutdown.
- Trump had said that he was “unhappy” with the deal, which offers him significantly less money than he wants for his border wall, and his closest allies have criticized it.
- Two people that have spoken with the president believe he wants to sign the deal, according to a CNN report.
- But Trump suggested on Twitter that he would find other ways to get more money for his wall. This could include declaring a national emergency or signing an executive order.
President Donald Trump will reportedly sign the bipartisan border security deal aimed at avoiding another government shutdown but is hinting that he will use presidential powers to find other ways to secure the money to fund his desired border wall.
Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he was “unhappy” with the deal that was negotiated between lawmakers from both parties, which would give him $1.375 billion for his border wall – less than 25% of the $5.7 billion demand that triggered the record 35-day partial government shutdown that ended in January.
Two sources who have spoken directly to the president about the deal told CNN on Wednesday that Trump intends to sign the deal to avoid a second shutdown. Both parties are eager to avoid a second closure, which left more than 800,000 federal workers out of work or working without pay and posed risks to Americans’ safety.
Congress must pass this new bill and Trump must sign it before midnight on Friday to avoid another shutdown, as government funding would run out at 12.01 a.m. on Saturday.
Fears had grown that Trump would reject the bill as some of his staunchest allies have criticized it.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he would manage to secure $23 billion for border security “from other sources” – suggesting that he would be open to signing the bill while also using presidential powers to secure additional funding.
….Will be getting almost $23 BILLION for Border Security. Regardless of Wall money, it is being built as we speak!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2019
But top Republicans told INSIDER that Trump could sign the bill and still decide to declare a national emergency in order to secure the funding he wants – something he has previously threatened to do.
Trump could also sign this bill while passing an executive order to use additional federal money not approved by Congress to build the wall – a move the White House is preparing to take, according to Politico, which noted that such a step would almost surely be met with court challenges.
Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted on Wednesday that a White House official told the newspaper that Trump would “likely” look to sign an executive order so secure more border wall funding.
A White House official told The Post this morn that President Trump sees signing the border deal, if passed by Congress, as the way to avoid another shutdown. But, he would also likely pursue an executive order to reallocate federal funds to barrier projects, the official said.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) February 13, 2019
What is in the bipartisan deal?
The deal negotiated by 17 Democratic and Republican lawmakers includes $1.375 billion for around 55 miles of border fencing. The deal doesn’t allow that money to be used for concrete walls and only “existing technologies” can be used, CNN reported – which means that a bollard fencing or steel slats are the most likely options.
Lawmakers also negotiated through an impasse over a cap on the number of detention beds Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can have at once. Democrats dropped their demand for a cap, while Republicans promised to reduce the number of immigrants it detains unless it can secure more funding.