President Trump was undecided Tuesday morning about whether to back a border security deal cut by congressional negotiators, a White House official said Tuesday — even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave it some love.
“No decision has been made,” the official told Reuters.
Democratic and Republican negotiators reached a tentative deal Monday night to provide $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers — well below the $5.7 billion Trump had demanded for more than 200 miles of wall along the US-Mexico border.
The deal would avert another partial government shutdown on Friday.
“I am cautiously optimistic that we will get this through,” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who chairs the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, told CNN.
“We cannot shut the government down.”
McConnell said on the Senate floor that he supported the deal.
“I know I speak for members on both sides of the aisle when I say that we are grateful to our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee for their leadership and are eager to see them complete this work,” he said.
“As we speak, our colleagues are working hard to produce full legislative text. I look forward to reviewing the full text as soon as possible and hope the Senate can act on this legislation in short order.”
But the White House source suggested the president wasn’t happy about parts of the deal.
Asked if the Republican president had signaled support for the bipartisan deal, Lowey did not answer directly, but said it had the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, who control the chamber.
Republican Senator Richard Shelby on Monday night said the House-Senate committee set up last month at the end of the previous shutdown had an agreement in principle to pay for border security programs.
A final agreement was expected by late Wednesday.
The legislation to continue funding several government agencies would need to be passed in the House and Senate and signed by Trump.
Trump last month agreed to end the previous 35-day shutdown without getting money for a wall, which is opposed by Democrats.
Congressional sources said the agreement includes $1.37 billion for new fencing but only with currently used designs, such as “steel bollard” fencing. It will also address immigrant detention beds, after Democrats abandoned their effort to cap them at levels far below what the administration wanted.
Trump will have to decide whether to sign the measure into law given its backing from congressional Republicans, or side with conservative commentators who have the president’s ear who oppose it.
Trump has threatened to declare a “national emergency” if Congress does not give him wall money.
“Just so you know — we’re building the wall anyway,” Trump said at a rally in the border city of El Paso, Texas, shortly after the deal was reached. “Maybe progress has been made — maybe not.”