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By Dartunorro Clark, Allan Smith and Hallie Jackson
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is “extremely unhappy” with a bipartisan deal lawmakers reached to avert a government shutdown later this week by providing money for a southern border fence, but he vowed to build the wall anyway.
“I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Trump added that he is considering all options to fund his proposed border wall. A White House official told NBC News earlier Tuesday that even if Trump signs off on the bipartisan agreement reached Monday night to keep the government open, other options were on the table to build a more substantial barrier.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said on Twitter Tuesday that Trump “should take executive action” to secure the border.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown” on Friday, Trump said. “If you did have it, it’s the Democrats fault.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the government funding deal was “a path forward for our country,” adding, “I strongly urge President Trump to sign this agreement.”
Trump gave no indication Tuesday whether he would sign the funding measure.
The government is set to run out of money again on Friday after having been partially shut down for 35 days earlier this year — the longest shutdown in U.S. history. That shutdown occurred because lawmakers did not provide Trump with his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. But Trump eventually relented and signed a short term funding package that expires in days.
Over the weekend, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the administration would secure the border, one way or another.
“We’ll take as much money as (Congress) can give us, and then we will go off and find the money someplace else legally in order to secure that southern barrier,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” Mulvaney added on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that regardless of what money lawmakers provide, Trump will “do whatever he legally can to secure that border.”
On Monday night, a bipartisan group of congressional negotiators announced they reached an “agreement in principle” to avert another shutdown and further fund border security, though it would not include money for a concrete wall.
The agreement would provide nearly $1.4 billion for new border fencing, which could include steel slats and other “existing technologies,” and an additional $1.7 billion for other Homeland Security priorities like new technology and more customs officers, multiple sources told NBC News. The deal funds about 55 miles of new border barrier, and Democrats dropped a demand to cap the number of beds for undocumented immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that the bipartisan group “put together a deal that we think is fair, that represents our values and will do the job.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the agreement “good news” in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.
“I look forward to reviewing the full text as soon as possible, and hope the Senate can act on this legislation in short order,” McConnell said.
But some of Trump’s allies were apoplectic about the agreement. Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his Monday program that the it was “a garbage compromise.”
“$1.3 billion? That’s not … even a wall, a barrier,” he said, asking how any Republican could support “this garbage compromise.”