But even with the threat of executive recourse looming, Democrats on Tuesday seemed pleased with the way the negotiations are playing out. “The deal worked out pretty good for us, frankly,” said one House Democratic staffer on the Appropriations Committee, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press. While Democrats didn’t get their desired cap on the number of immigration detentions allowed in the United States, the staffer said that the low figure negotiators reached for wall funding represents a kind of “unconditional Republican surrender.”
Conservatives, however, seem frustrated with the negotiations’ outcome. Over the weekend, according to the House Republican aide, members of conservative groups such as the Freedom Caucus made peace with the notion of a less than stellar deal—comforted, like Trump, by the promise of executive action. It was a different attitude than they had during the last round of shutdown talks, when conservatives close to the president, such as Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, urged him to keep the onus on Congress alone to fund the border wall. Over the weekend, those members reluctantly agreed that no deal to fully finance the wall was in sight, and that executive action was necessary, the aide explained.
But on Tuesday, following the release of more details about the conference committee’s bipartisan deal, conservatives were livid. “They’re fuming about how one-sided the agreement is,” the Republican aide said. “I would’ve said conservatives would support it with the expectation of executive action to follow, but the deal is bad enough where there may be some drama.”
Given the apparent conservative frustration, and with folks on Fox News continuing to sound the alarm, it’s worth wondering whether Trump will change his own tune, too. That’s what happened in December: Trump, at the 11th hour, absorbing backlash from the likes of Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, said he was no longer willing to sign a bill passed unanimously by the Senate to fund the government. The president may be sending strong signals now that he supports the current compromise, but hours of Hannity are still to come this week.
Lawmakers have until Friday at midnight to finalize the terms of the deal, push it through both chambers of Congress, and get a signature from the president. If they don’t make the deadline, the government will shut down again for the second time in less than a month—an outcome lawmakers from both parties have made clear would be unacceptable.
At this point, though, committee members are feeling confident, said the House Democratic staffer: “The only wild card here is Trump.”
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