WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said on Feb. 12 that he was “extremely unhappy” with the tentative deal reached by congressional negotiators. However, he said he would not accept another government shutdown.
“I’m extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us. It’s sad,” he told reporters at a cabinet meeting. “They’re doing the country no favors. They’re hurting our country very badly. But we certainly don’t want to see a shutdown.”
Congressional negotiators reached on Feb. 11 an agreement to prevent a government shutdown and finance construction of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
President Trump, opening today’s Cabinet meeting: “I am eager to work with both parties to deliver for all Americans.” pic.twitter.com/3nTcQKoyEm
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 12, 2019
Republicans tentatively agreed to less money for the border wall than the White House’s $5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of nearly $1.4 billion, according to congressional aides. The funding measure is through the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
Trump said the White House was also adding its input to the agreement.
“Am I happy at first glance? I just got to see it. The answer is no,” Trump continued. However, he said he was thrilled with the progress.
“I’m thrilled because we’re supplementing things and moving things around and we’re doing things that are fantastic, taking from far less important areas and the bottom line is we’re building a lot of wall,” he said. “You think it’s easy? We’re building it in the face of tremendous obstruction and tremendous opposition from a small group of people.”
The agreement means 55 miles of new fencing—constructed through existing designs such as metal slats instead of a concrete wall—but less than the 215 miles the White House demanded in December. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. It closely mirrors Trump’s original budget request from last winter.
When asked about the possibility of declaring a national emergency to fully fund the wall, Trump said he was considering all options.
“I’m considering everything. We already have national emergencies out there. President Obama, President Clinton, President Bush, they’ve declared many national [emergencies]–this is not unique,” he said.
On the possibility of another government shutdown, Trump said he would not accept another shutdown.
“I wouldn’t want to see a shutdown. If you did have it, it’s the Democrats fault.”
Sen. Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a key negotiator in the bipartisan border security conference committee said that the lawmakers are still working on the legislative text. The office of Senate Appropriations Committee confirmed that the text would be finalized by Wednesday, Feb. 13.
McConnell and Schumer Tout the Deal
While the details of the agreement are still being hammered out, congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle welcomed the news.
“Last night, the country heard some good news,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor on Feb. 12.
“We now have a bipartisan proposal to accomplish our goals, better secure the border and avoid another senseless government shutdown. I don’t know the details, but the parameters of this are good.”
These months of shutdown politics must come to an end. We now have a bipartisan proposal to accomplish our goals, better secure the border, and avoid another senseless shutdown. I thank the members of the conference committee, and I look forward to seeing the final product. pic.twitter.com/F5Nn0vV6YZ
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 12, 2019
Schumer urged Trump to sign the agreement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also touted the deal, saying that the negotiations were able to “move forward productively” after Democrats abandoned their “unreasonable positions.”
“Certainly good news. It provides new funds for miles of new border barriers and it completes all seven outstanding appropriation bills,” he said on the Senate floor on Feb. 12.
It had been clear to everyone that, in order to reach an agreement, our Democratic colleagues would have to walk away from two extreme positions that had been dictated to them by the far left. I’m glad they did.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) February 12, 2019
The new agreement provides new funds for miles of border barriers and it completes all seven outstanding appropriations bills, so Congress can complete a funding process for all the outstanding parts of the federal government with predictability and certainty.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) February 12, 2019
Stocks rose on the news, with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining nearly 350 points, or 1.5 percent. S&P 500 and Nasdaq also jumped more than 1 percent.
Congress needs to reach an agreement by Saturday, Feb. 16 and get Trump’s signature to avoid another partial government shutdown.
The bipartisan, bicameral conference committee composed of 17 Democrats and Republicans was formed as part of the deal to end the 35-day partial shutdown of the government.
The agreement reached by the conference committee also includes increases for new technologies such as advanced screening at border entry points, humanitarian aid, and additional customs officers.
On Feb. 10, President Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that the White House would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, with or without funding from Congress.
“The president is going to build the wall,” Mulvaney said. “Our attitude at this point is we will take as much money as you can give us and then we will go find money someplace else legally in order to secure that southern barrier, but this is going to get built with or without Congress.”
Additional reporting by The Associated Press and Reuters.
From The Epoch Times