President Donald Trump is leaning toward signing a congressionally negotiated deal that provides funding for his proposed barrier along the U.S. southern border, two sources familiar with the situation tell The Daily Caller.
Trump told reporters Tuesday he is “not happy” with negotiated compromise, but officials say they have little other option, other than to reject the deal outright and spark another partial government shutdown.
A GOP source directly involved in the process likened Trump’s expected action and rhetoric to March 2018 when he signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, calling the prospective outcome “Omnibus 2.0.”
That bill did not provide funding for a border wall and provided funding for Planned Parenthood and a host of other poison pills for the Republican party, but nonetheless got the signature of the president. Trump declared that he had no choice but to sign the bill because it delivered funding for the U.S. military. He said at the time he would never sign such a measure again.
Trump told negotiators privately in recent weeks that he was willing to accept approximately $2 billion in wall funding, a substantial compromise from his original demand of $5.7 billion. The bill is a result of a three-week negotiation process following a partial government shutdown that lasted nearly 35 days.
The White House instead is exploring ways to accept the compromised congressional solution and tap other sources of funding available by executive order as a means to obtain the full $5.7 billion they believe is necessary for a full barrier along the border.
Congressional negotiators announced an agreement Monday night 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. (RELATED: Raid Leads To More Than 100 ICE Arrests In New York)
Trump appeared to signal his tacit approval of the bill late Tuesday evening after being briefed on its full contents by lead Republican negotiator Sen. Richard Shelby.
I want to thank all Republicans for the work you have done in dealing with the Radical Left on Border Security. Not an easy task, but the Wall is being built and will be a great achievement and contributor toward life and safety within our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2019
The president has repeatedly tried to affirm in recent days that the new wall is already being built along the southern border and assured supporters that whatever Congress delivers, he will bolster funds with any at his disposal.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cautioned that no decision has been made on whether Trump will sign the bill, saying Wednesday morning on Fox News, “We’ll see what the final package looks like but like you said and like the president himself said yesterday, he’s not happy about it.”
She continued, “But he’s okay because he’s going to get the job done no matter what. He’s got alternative options and he’s going to keep those on the table, again we’ll see what the final package looks like and the president will make a determination on whether or not he’s going to sign it.”
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney essentially outlined this plan on Fox News, saying Sunday, “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.”
“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.