With another potential shutdown looming this week, congressional negotiators say they have come to a tentative agreement that would avoid another bruising government stoppage but would not meet President Trump’s demands for a border wall. Negotiators from both sides sounded optimistic about the deal Monday that would fund a border barrier to the tune of $1.375 billion, including 55 miles of new fencing, according to the Washington Post. This, of course, falls far short of Trump’s proposed $5-plus billion boondoggle to build 200 miles of an arbitrary wall, an ultimatum that was issued via monthlong temper tantrum.
Republicans had largely abandoned the $5 billion number following the 35-day shutdown that took a toll on the party’s support. With the temporary funding measure that temporarily reopened the government set to expire Friday, “Democrats backed down from their demand on tight limits on detention beds that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement could use to detain undocumented immigrants, pulling away from a push that that led to a breakdown in talks over the weekend,” according to the Post. “Negotiators felt the deal would prove sufficient to fund all government operations through the end of the September, potentially removing any more shutdown threats for the remainder of the fiscal year.”
Whether Trump will sign off on the deal without something he can spin as a wall is another matter altogether. The White House has floated other means to build its version of a wall, including declaring a national emergency and using executive power to direct funds from the federal budget toward wall construction. “We can call it anything. We’ll call it barriers, we’ll call it whatever they want,” Trump said Monday before shifting focus to the ICE detention issue. “But now it turns out not only don’t they want to give us money for a wall, they don’t want to give us the space to detain murderers, criminals, drug dealers, human smugglers.”
So will this notoriously thin-skinned president sign off on the deal? Perhaps ask Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh or the Fox and Friends gang. Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he believes the White House will back the agreement. “We believe from our dealings with them and the latitude they’ve given us, they will support it,” Selby said. “We certainly hope so.”