For a second, it looked like we were getting somewhere. After weeks of negotiations over funding for border security, lawmakers have reportedly finally come to an agreement to avert a second government shutdown, but there's a problem: it apparently only includes a portion of the money the president wanted for his long-promised border wall with Mexico and doesn't mention a concrete barrier, which he prefers. With that, you're probably wondering: Will Trump sign the budget deal? And to that, I say, it doesn't look all that likely.
Lawmakers announced that a tentative deal had been reached on Monday, Feb. 11, which would provide $1.375 billion for fencing and other physical barriers at the United States southern border, per The New York Times. It has an offer of 55 miles of new fencing, as well, which is just a fraction of the 200-plus miles of a steel and concrete wall Trump had requested. It had also included a demand by Democrats to reduce the number of detention beds used for migrants and undocumented immigrants as an effort to limit aggressive detention efforts by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but lawmakers reportedly decided to drop it after the demand threatened to derail negotiations.
However, it's unclear if the president will sign off. “I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled,” he told reporters during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday Feb. 12, per The Hill. He did not, however, say whether or not he would veto the agreement and start a new shutdown. And on Monday, at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, he said that his wall would still get built, regardless of whether Congress approves funding for it. “Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway,” he said. Trump previously refused to sign a Senate-passed spending deal that would've avoided the most recent partial government shutdown, which lasted from the end of December 2018 to late January 2019, all because it didn't include money for his wall, per CNBC. The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on whether Trump will sign the new deal or clarification on his statements.
If Trump doesn't sign a spending agreement by Feb. 15, another government shutdown will go into effect. Previously, the government partially closed for a stunning 35 days after the president and Congress failed to agree on funding for a border wall, which left some 800,000 federal employees without paychecks. Trump only opened the government back up after widespread backlash and outcry, saying he would give lawmakers three weeks to negotiate on funding.
And that's not the only thing that might happen. Trump has repeatedly said he has been considering declaring a national emergency, which would allow him to appropriate funds from the Department of Defense and other sources. Elite Daily previously reached out to the White House for further comment on the possibility that he will declare a national emergency, but did not hear back. It's not just some small idea, either. On Feb. 1, Trump said there's a "good chance" he'll pursue that option if a deal that he agrees with isn't reached. Although there are already talks that pulling such a move could face intense backlash, including legal challenges, people have already been bracing for it. According to The New York Times, Pentagon officials spent the weekend of Feb. 8 preparing for the possibility that Trump will pull such a move.
Let's just cross our fingers and hope that things don't get that ugly, shall we? Keep your eyes open to see how this situation continues to play out.