Trump Looks To Thread Needle On Wall Funding

Trump hard hat construction Getty Images/Mark Lyons

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The White House is considering signing off on some form of a tentative Congressional deal reached Monday evening and tapping existing U.S. government funds available by executive order, two sources close to the process tell The Daily Caller.

Congressional negotiators announced an agreement to avoid another government shutdown. The deal includes $1.375 billion in funding for a barrier along the U.S. southern border and funding for approximately 40,000 beds for ICE detention beds. Democrats notably dropped their demand in the agreement to limit the number of beds ICE is able to use for criminal illegal alien enforcement, removing the main poison pill for The White House in the deal. 

The border division between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 26, 2017. (HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The border division between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 26, 2017. (HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Administration officials are not overall satisfied with the agreement, however, and even remain wholly unclear on what is in it. Two sources close to the process said some back and forth over the contours of the deal with Congress is still possible, but said they’re optimistic about a path forward before funding for the government ends Feb 15.

These sources told the Caller that Trump may sign off on pretty much any agreement because plans are in the works to tap into existing funds with executive orders.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley definitively told Fox News on Wednesday morning that the administration had yet to see the agreement and that they would not comment on the deal at this time.

Trump told negotiators privately in recent weeks that he was willing to accept approximately 2 billion dollars in wall funding, a substantial compromise from his original demand of 5.7 billion. Negotiators delivered 1.375 billion dollars in border barrier funding.  (RELATED: Raid Leads To More Than 100 ICE Arrests In New York)

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney outlined the administration plan on Fox News saying Sunday that “we’ll take as much money as you can give us and then we’ll go off and find the money someplace else, legally, in order to secure that southern barrier, but this is going to get built with or without Congress.”

“The president is going to build the wall,” he added.

Mulvaney outlines plan to get wall built (Fox News screengrab)

Mulvaney outlines plan to get wall built (Fox News screengrab)

“There are certain funds of money that he can get to without declaring a national emergency and other funds that he can only get to after declaring a national emergency,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney’s comment reveals a current gulf in the administration’s thinking; whether to declare a national emergency or not. Trump has repeatedly left open the option of declaring a national emergency under his authority as commander in chief to begin construction on the wall with military funds.

White House advisors, however, say there are pools of money available to Trump that do not require a national emergency. Both options are equally likely to draw significant court challenges and consternation on Capitol Hill.

Republican Congressional leaders have urged Trump not to declare a national emergency because they believe it will set a bad precedent and is an improper use of executive authority. Other Congressional leaders have grown rankled because they believe Trump is circumventing Congress’s power of the purse under the U.S. Constitution.