President Trump said Tuesday he is “not happy” with the tentative deal congressional negotiators have worked out on border security, as they face a Friday deadline to avert a second government shutdown.
But while the president expressed his displeasure at what was agreed to by lawmakers on Monday night, he added that he does not believe there will be another shutdown in the end.
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“Am I happy at first glance?” Trump said. “The answer is no. I’m not happy.”
A committee negotiating new border security measures tentatively agreed Monday night to dedicate $1.4 billion to Trump’s border wall, far less than his $5.7 billion goal. The emerging deal drops Democratic demands to seriously limit detentions of immigrants illegally in the U.S.
The agreement also calls for 55 miles of metal slats or other types of new fencing, as opposed to a concrete wall. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The pact includes money for other border security measures, including advanced screening at border entry points and customs officers.
The huge funding measure, which combines seven spending bills into one, would fund several federal agencies through Sept. 30.
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Trump, speaking amid a Cabinet meeting at the White House, did not say whether he would sign the measure, only that he was unhappy with what was agreed to yet did not want to see another shutdown.
“I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us,” the president said, adding that his proposed border wall will get built and “we’re using methods other than this.”
White House Spokesman Hogan Gidley said earlier on Tuesday that it’s difficult to say what will and won’t be acceptable before officials have a chance to review details of the proposal House and Senate lawmakers agreed to Monday night. Gidley added the White House wants to focus on what’s actually in the document, not “what could be” in it.
Top Republicans Mitch McConnell in the Senate and Kevin McCarthy in the House both claimed victory, crowing about Democratic concessions on new border barriers and a late-stage battle over the ability of federal authorities to arrest and detain immigrants living illegally in the U.S.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged Trump to accept the emerging border security deal and “not, not, not cause another shutdown.”
Schumer called the tentative accord “welcome news” and a “path forward.”
The New York senator argued that neither side will achieve everything they wanted from the deal, but said “hopefully this agreement means there won’t be another government shutdown.”
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Congress is pushing toward a deadline Friday to fund the government or risk another partial federal shutdown.
Trump traveled to El Paso, Texas, for a campaign-style rally Monday night focused on immigration and border issues. He has been adamant that Congress approve money for a wall along the Mexican border, though he no longer repeats his 2016 mantra that Mexico will pay for it, and he took to the stage as lawmakers back in Washington were announcing their breakthrough.
“They said that progress is being made with this committee,” Trump told his audience, referring to the congressional bargainers. “Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.