Chances are looking good this weekend that House and Senate negotiators will come to an agreement on border security that will include at least some funds for a border wall.
Republicans want more than $2 billion toward a physical barrier along the border with Mexico, but are likely to end up with even less than that. Donald Trump was asking for more than $5 billion, but that’s not likely to happen.
“We need the time to make sure that what we’re agreeing to is what we really need,” Texas Rep. Kay Granger, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee and member of the negotiation team, stated to Roll Call. “We still have some work to do.”
However, a final deal is poised to offer far less funding for wall construction than what the White House had originally demanded. In order to avoid another shutdown, the administration may be forced to accept a fraction of the $5.7 billion Trump wants in order to build a 234-mile long steel barrier along the U.S-Mexico border.
“I’ve seen the Democratic and the latest Republican offer … I can tell you this for sure, it’s not 5.7 billion dollars for a wall; it’s not anywhere close,” stated Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democratic member of the special committee.
It may not be as much as Trump wanted, but Democrats were saying at the beginning of the negotiations they’d never fund a dime of the president’s border wall. Would Trump declare victory and sign the bill?
While neither the administration nor Republican lawmakers are interested in entering another government shutdown, the White House fired a warning shot on Friday.
“We’re on the verge of a government shutdown again because Democrats won’t come to the table to have a conversation about securing the country,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said on Friday to reporters.
It could be that Trump thinks he can get more mileage out of another government shutdown with his base and he’s probably right. One thing is certain: another shutdown would cause heads to explode in the media and the Democratic Party. It’s the kind of chaos that Trump thrives on.
But in the end, he would be back where he started: no government funds and no wall. And in the next round, he would likely lose a lot of Republican support in Congress, leading to no wall funding at all.
If a deal is reached this weekend, Trump will grumble but probably sign it. Besides, he still has other options to fund his wall — including the emergency declaration. That’s a route he may go rather than wait on Democrats to fold.