Fate of border funding proposal uncertain

The fate of a proposal to fund the Department of Homeland Security and avoid a government shutdown remained unclear Tuesday morning, with the White House and even some conferees on the team trying to broker a deal reserving judgement. 

President Trump expressed his displeasure with the agreement in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. “I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled,” the president told reporters, adding that there would be a meeting about it later in the day. 

Top lawmakers announced Monday night they have an agreement in principle over border funding, but those details have yet to be publicly released. The proposal includes $1.375 million for 55 miles of fencing along the southern border. A bicameral, bipartisan team of lawmakers has been scrambling to reach an agreement before the Friday deadline. Mr. Trump also cast doubt on a second shutdown Tuesday. “I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown. If you did have it it’s the Democrats fault,” he said. 

White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday morning that the White House needs to see exactly what is in the agreement before commenting further. The White House has long been quiet on exactly what figure the president would accept for a border wall or barrier below the $5.7 billion the president has demanded. At a rally in El Paso Monday night, the president said he chose to head to his rally rather than listen to details of a border proposal. 

“We’re not gonna get into a conversation about what could be in this document,” Gidley said Tuesday morning. “We want to focus on what’s actually in the document. Until we see that, it’s gonna be very difficult to have a conversation about what we will or won’t accept. I’m about to walk into the chief of staff’s office right now and go over some of the pieces that have come through already. And once we have more we’ll let you know but until then, I’ve got nothing else on the deal.”

But Gidley doesn’t appear to be the only one who lacks details. GOP Rep. Tom Graves, a member of the conference committee, tweeted Tuesday morning, “I haven’t signed off on the reported “deal” nor have I seen it. Based on the reports, I have concerns. Lots of questions too.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s optimistic about the proposal, and intends to bring it to the Senate floor when it’s ready. McConnell, too, has also not yet seen the text of the proposal. 

“I look forward to reviewing the full text as soon as possible and hope the Senate can act on this legislation in short order,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. 

In recent days and weeks, the president hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a national emergency if he doesn’t get sufficient funding for his border wall. 

Trump ally GOP Rep. Mark Meadows suggested the president take executive action Tuesday. 

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