Congressional negotiators reached an “agreement in principle” on Monday night, addressing President Donald Trump’s request for border wall funding, which lawmakers anticipate would avert another partial government shutdown.
Trump said Tuesday that he is “not happy” with the deal, but does not anticipate a shutdown.
Last month, the president signed legislation to reopen the government until Feb. 15, while a bi-partisan group of legislators from the House and the Senate tried to hammer out an agreement on border barrier funding.
“We reached an agreement in principle between us on all the homeland security and the other six bills,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama a lead Republican negotiator said on Monday, Politico reported. “The White House has been consulted all along.”
The tentative deal includes $1.375 billion to construct an additional 55 miles for physical barriers, in the form of “steel slats,” which Trump has requested.
The Democrats also agreed to drop their demand to put a cap on the number of detention beds available to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to 16,500.
According to The Hill, the deal includes 40,250 ICE detention beds, but also provides enough flexibility in the funding to allow the Trump administration to reach the 52,000 beds it has requested.
Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis described that concession by the Democrats as a “big win for Trump.”
He explained the agreement gives the presidents the authority to transfer $750 million to hold up to as many as 58,500 beds.
Big win for Trump on ICE detention beds:
* Ds dropped demand for interior bed cap
* Trump can bust through new 45,274-bed total cap – itself a record – with $750M transfer authority. Per aide, Trump could hold as many as *58,500* – UP from 49,057 now.https://t.co/6isW3vfcoJ
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) February 12, 2019
Trump told attendees at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday night that he could not accept the Democrats’ position to greatly curtail the number of ICE detention beds, because it would mean releasing violent criminals into the general population.
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters he is “not happy” with the tentative congressional deal concerning the border.
Asked if he would sign it, he replied, “I have to study. I’m not happy about it. It’s not doing the trick.”
The president reiterated, “We’re going to build a big, beautiful wall. It’s not going to let criminals, and traffickers and drug dealers, and drugs into our country.”
“Am I happy at first glance?” Trump said. “The answer is no. I’m not happy. But am I happy with where we’re going? I’m thrilled. … The bottom line is we’re building a lot of wall. Right now, we’re building a lot of wall.”
Trump told reporters that he does not anticipate another government shutdown, “but if you did have it, it’s the Democrats’ fault.”
“I accepted the first one, and I’m proud of what we accomplished,” he continued, “because people learned during that shutdown all about the problems coming in from the southern border.”
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