Posted: 9:17 pm Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
By Jamie Dupree
Even as President Donald Trump publicly grumbled on Tuesday about the details of a border funding agreement worked out by House-Senate negotiators, some of his supporters in Congress were convinced that the President would sign that bill into law, and then swiftly move to use executive powers to funnel other money into construction of a border wall, all but assuring a legal fight over such a unilateral move.
“I’ve heard a variety of different numbers,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), a key House ally of President Trump, as the head of the House Freedom Caucus said he expected the President to tap a variety of funding sources for the wall.
“More than $5.7 billion,” Meadows told reporters, citing the President’s own request for border wall money, which was rejected by Congressional negotiators, who approved $1.375 billion in funding for border barriers – but not a concrete wall.
“I’m not happy about it,” Mr. Trump told reporters of his reaction to that funding deal. “It’s not doing the trick.”
Asked if he would consider declaring a national emergency, the President was clear.
“I’m considering everything,” Mr. Trump said, as the President was not pleased with the outcome of House-Senate negotiations.
Another key ally of the President, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), labeled the $1.375 billion, ‘a start,’ as Perdue said it was time for lawmakers to move past the impasse over border funding, which resulted in a five week partial government shutdown.
Asked about the chance of a repeat shutdown, the President – despite his obvious distaste for the deal – told reporters that it should not happen again.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown. I wouldn’t want to go to it, no,” the President said. “If you did have it, it’s the Democrats’ fault.”
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers were waiting to see the fine print of the agreement, which would cover not only the budget for the Department of Homeland Security, but also six other funding bills which cover about one quarter of the federal government.
President Trump "doesn't realize it, but it's very limited where he can transfer money from," @SenatorLeahy says of the president using his executive power to find other money for the southern border wall. pic.twitter.com/yJZfuPraj6
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) February 12, 2019
Facing a Friday night funding deadline – and a scheduled week off from legislative business in the Capitol next week – there was hope among lawmakers that the spending deal could be rushed through the Congress maybe as early as Thursday.
If that wasn’t possible, there was also the chance that a short term funding plan would be needed to avoid a shutdown.