Trump ‘Not Happy’ With Deal to Avert Shutdown

WASHINGTON (CN) – Though he acknowledged he is unhappy with a spending deal struck by a bipartisan group of lawmakers late Monday, President Donald Trump said Tuesday he thinks the White House and Congress will be able to avert another government shutdown ahead of a Friday deadline. 

President Donald Trump arrives on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Feb. 8, 2019. The president was returning to the White House after his annual physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Trump made the comments during a cabinet meeting at the White House. Congressional negotiators on Monday night said they reached an agreement on a funding plan to keep the government open beyond Friday’s deadline. 

The tentative agreement includes more than $1.3 billion for Trump’s long-promised border wall, well below the $5.7 billion demand the president made during the month-long government shutdown that ended last month. The agreement would put certain restrictions on both the location and form of the barriers. 

The proposal, which has not yet been finalized, does not include limits on Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention bed space that Democrats pushed for toward the end of the negotiations.  The push for the limitation arose over the weekend and by Monday looked like it would derail the talks. 

Trump said he is “considering everything” if Congress approves the package, leaving open the possibility that he will move around funds from other areas of the government or declare a national emergency to add on to the money set aside for a wall in the agreement.  

“Am I happy at first glance?” Trump said at the White House Tuesday. “I just got to see it. The answer is no. I’m not. I’m not happy. But am I happy with where we’re going? I’m thrilled because we’re supplementing things and moving things around and we’re doing things that are fantastic, taking from far less important areas and the bottom line is we’re building a lot of wall. Right now we’re building a lot of wall.” 

Senator Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican who was one of the leading negotiators of the agreement, told reporters Tuesday that Congress should be able to take action on the spending package before Friday’s deadline. 

Lawmakers remain anxious to see whether Trump will commit to signing the deal when it is finally released. Shelby said he expects formal text of the agreement as soon as Wednesday and told reporters he plans to speak with Trump later Tuesday about the deal. 

“This is a down payment on where the president wants to go and where we want to go with him,” Shelby told reporters. “That is to secure the border of the United States.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hailed the agreement as a practical compromise between Republicans and Democrats and said Trump should sign the deal when it comes to his desk, so long as it does not change significantly between now and when it is put on paper. 

“It’s not everything the president hoped to get, but I think it’s a good step in the right direction,” McConnell told reporters. “I hope he’ll decide to sign it, we’re all quite interested in that, as you can imagine.” 

McConnell would not say whether the Senate would override Trump if the president decides to veto the legislation. Senator Jerry Moran, R-Kan., told reporters earlier in the day that while most Republicans will likely vote for the agreement, he does not think there would be enough support for an override. 

Lawmakers are also watching to see what exactly Trump meant when he said earlier in the day that the White House is looking at “moving things around” with respect to the border wall. 

Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters he expects Trump will declare a national emergency soon to help get more money for a border barrier. Graham predicted Trump would separately move to shift money from other areas of the government to fund the wall. 

“I’d expect him to take the difference between what was appropriated and what he needs and find it through executive action,” Graham said.  

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