Not happy with border deal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:20 AM, February 14, 2019

Not happy with border deal

Trump grudgingly walks back his threat to shut govt

  • Fellow Republicans urge Trump's support

  • Trump says he would manage to 'add' to congressional funds



President Donald Trump indicated Tuesday that he will walk back his threat to shut the government even if he does not get all the money he has demanded for building a wall along the US-Mexican border.

Although Trump left enough wiggle room to keep the country guessing, he appeared to be edging toward accepting a deal struck in Congress that would give him significantly less money for the much-maligned barrier.

"I can't say I'm happy, I can't say I'm thrilled," Trump said. But he also told a cabinet meeting in the White House: "I don't think you're going to see a shutdown."

He was responding to a deal struck by Republican and Democratic lawmakers to offer nearly $1.4 billion for wall construction, as well as other border security measures.

This was far less than the $5.7 billion Trump wanted, but it was presented as a workable deal to satisfy both sides and allow Trump to shelve his threat to shut down large portions of the government on Friday.

Trump said he would manage to "add" to the congressional funds, though he did not explain how.

Lawmakers, including from his own Republican Party, pressured Trump to take what was on the table.

Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican negotiator, called it "a pretty good deal."

Late Tuesday, Trump tweeted to thank Republicans for their work "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!," he said.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said the compromise would be voted on and likely passed, ready for Trump's signature.

"The deal is the way it's going to be written, and it will be filed, I suspect, tomorrow night," he said.

The funds would finance 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) of new walls along the border.

Hundreds of miles of barriers already run along the US-Mexican border, but Trump says far more are needed to bring what he often calls an "invasion" of migrant criminals under control.

Democrats say Trump vastly exaggerates the crime problem and uses the issue to whip up his right-wing voter base.

In December, Trump tried to pressure Congress into approving the $5.7 billion by refusing to sign off on funding large parts of government that have nothing to do with the wall, putting 800,000 jobs, from FBI agents to airport security, on hold for five weeks.

The Democrats refused to budge and Trump was forced into an embarrassing retreat, allowing new negotiations to open with a new deadline of this Friday.

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