The clock is ticking yet again as Washington aims to avert a second government shutdown of the year. Congressional lawmakers hope to have President Trump sign what they call an “agreement in principle” on border security funding. After hours of deliberations, Democrats and Republicans formulated a deal late Monday on legislation to fund the government past the Friday deadline.
Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he had reviewed the border funding agreement reached by the bipartisan group of congressional negotiators. An official familiar with the matter told CBS News he is “very likely” to sign the deal if it reaches his desk.
Follow along for live updates of border funding developments:
Meadows says Trump is looking at Pentagon funding
Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a loyal Trump ally, told CBS News’ Bo Erickson and other reporters that re-appropriating the Pentagon’s counter-drug funds is one of the tools he is discussing with the White House to build the wall.
Meadows also said he doesn’t think the president will veto the funding bill. But there’s “no way” the proposal passes with a veto-proof majority, he said.
Hoyer: Congressional funerals to delay vote on Thursday
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters there will be no vote on the funding bill until after 6:30 p.m. Thursday because members will be attending funerals for the former Rep. John Dingell and Rep. Walter Jones.
He called the bill “a supportable compromise … That is what conferences are — reasonable compromises, not perfect documents, not everything we wanted, but reasonable compromise.”
Reporting by Rebecca Kaplan
Pelosi on border deal: “When it’s ready” we’ll “pass it”
“Well, it’s not a question of when, it’s a question of whether it’s a win for the American people. It’s a compromise and that’s what appropriators do,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters.
She added, “I had confidence that they would, left to their own devices, get the job done for the American people. And I’m proud of the work that they’ve done but as with all compromises, I say to people, support the bill for what is in it, don’t judge it for what is not in it. We have other days to pass other legislation, well we can’t pass it until it’s ready. And when it’s ready we’ll be ready to pass it.”
Trump says he has options people don’t understand to build the wall
Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office alongside the Colombian president, said he has options most people don’t understand to build the wall.
It’s unclear just what those options the administration is considering, are.
The president insisted the deal has $23 billion for border security, calling Democrats “stingy” on the issue.
On Venezuela, he claimed he has “great flexibility” if Nicolas Maduro does not leave office voluntarily. “I always have a plan B and C and D and E and F,” he said.
Graham on where Trump stands
Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters he thinks the president “is inclined to accept the agreement, move on and try to find the money elsewhere and most likely declare an emergency” after speaking with the president Tuesday night.
Graham said Mr. Trump is “very inclined” to go the national emergency route.
“I think there’s some money he can access that would give him more money but I’m not so sure he would get $5.7 that way. I’ll let the president speak for himself but I think the national emergency declaration is certainly on the table … Generally speaking, if you can use the money the way he envisions for barriers and there’s no limit on bed space in reality, I think he’d be inclined to take the deal and move on.”
Reporting by Andrew Eversden
McCarthy: Trump shouldn’t “assure” anything before reading bill
House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters the president “shouldn’t assure anything before he reads” the deal reached by congressional negotiators. He added the president “has to make a judgement based on what’s in it.”
“I support the framework of this bill, I think the framework is there. I’d liek to have more money for a barrier there,” said McCarthy of the deal. He said the “president still has some options” and “flexibility” when it comes to funding for his wall.
McConnell defends agreement as a “good deal”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor Wednesday continued to defend the conferee deal, saying, “If the text of the bill reflects the principles agreed to on Monday, it won’t be a perfect deal, but it will be a good deal.”
McConnell conceded that “neither side is getting everything it wants” out of the compromise, adding, “That’s the way it goes in divided government. “
“I hope that our colleagues will complete the process of turning these principles into legislation soon and the final text can become law before this Friday’s deadline,” he added.
Reporting by Alan He
Hakeem Jeffries: Deal “represents 21st century border security”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries says the agreement reached by the conference committee “represents 21st century border security.” Jeffries, speaking to reporters after the Democrats caucus meeting on Wednesday, said that the deal reached includes “many Democratic priorities as it relates to investment and infrastructure.”
Jeffries told reporters that based on his conversations with the caucus on Wednesday, there was an “overwhelming majority” of the House Democratic caucus that would support the legislation. The Democrat said the deal would be presented on the House floor on Thursday.
CBS News’ Rebecca Kaplan reports that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer confirmed the House hopes to have the legislation ready to go by Thursday and pass it by Thursday night.
“This legislation is a product of trying to find common ground, we made clear from the beginning that we wouldn’t support funding for a medieval border wall. We also indicated we were prepared to support evidence-based barriers where necessary,” said Jeffries. He added that the caucus concluded that it is “reasonable to support 55 miles of additional barrier in a manner that is consistent with evidence-based approach to find common ground and improve security” along the southern border.
Sarah Sanders says “some positive pieces” to border deal
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Wednesday the president wants to see what the final piece of legislation looks like before deciding to formally sign off or not on a border deal. Taking a dig at the House speaker, Sanders told reporters outside the White House, “Unlike Nancy Pelosi, we actually like to read legislation before we agree to it.”
“There are some positive pieces of it,” conceded Sanders, but noted “one way or the other, and one thing that you can be sure of is at the end of the day, the president is going to build the wall. He said he was going to get it done and he will.”
What about the national emergency?
In recent days and weeks, the president hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a national emergency if he doesn’t get sufficient funding for his border wall.
According to CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, all necessary legal work has been done at the Department of Justice and the White House counsel’s office for emergency declarations related to border security. This does not mean Mr. Trump will necessarily declare a national emergency to get his border wall built, but Garrett told “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday that “it’s more likely than not” that the president will issue the declaration.
Garrett adds that if Mr. Trump decides, the legal work has been done to the satisfaction of the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and the White House. But a declaration, if it is used, could still be challenged in court or found to be legally problematic. But the administration believes, according to a senior administration official, it has done its due diligence.
Mr. Trump has suggested he can get money from other places, although it’s unclear exactly what he means by that.
Trump not “happy” with border deal
At a meeting with his Cabinet on Tuesday, Mr. Trump expressed his displeasure with the agreement brokered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House and Senate.
“I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled,” the president told reporters on Tuesday in a Cabinet meeting.
CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett told “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday that the president has been handed the “worst deal of all the ones ever put before him” because it contains the smallest dollar amount possible for border security funding.
“The great deal maker dealt himself the worst possible hand of all of them given to him by Congress,” said Garrett, adding that the president has “no choice” but to take it.