President Donald Trump intends to sign the border security deal to avoid another partial government shutdown, according to two sources who have spoken directly with the President.
Trump said Tuesday that he was “not happy” with the tentative deal reached by congressional negotiators late Monday night that falls far short of his original demands.
On Wednesday, he told reporters he would “take a very serious look” at the legislation, adding that he does not want the government to shut down again.
Congress faces a deadline to get a deal passed and signed by Trump before Friday.
The agreement, which includes $1.375 billion for a border barrier, falls well short of the $5.7 billion Trump originally demanded for a wall. It even falls short of the $1.6 billion included in a Senate package last year.
Still, the measure would avert another government shutdown. Polls showed Trump was largely blamed for the previous 35-day impasse.
“I don’t want to see a shutdown, a shutdown would be a terrible thing,” the President said during a Wednesday Oval Office meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque. “I don’t want to see another one, there’s no reason for it.”
Even as lawmakers haggled over details of their agreement, the White House had been planning behind the scenes to secure the funds for the wall unilaterally.
The White House says Trump is continuing to weigh his options to fund a border wall, which still include taking executive action to secure funding for a wall. It’s not clear which combination of actions the President might use, and the topic has been under debate for weeks.
Not all would require declaring a national emergency, and they are likely to be rolled out piece by piece, not necessarily all at once, once Trump signs off.
It’s not clear which combination of actions the President might use. The estimates for how much each option could garner have also been under debate, and most White House aides believe any executive action will prompt legal challenges – some will be easy and some more difficult legally, per aides familiar with the matter. The President has held nearly daily meetings with senior advisers and others to discuss his options.
Based on CNN’s latest reporting, the President’s unilateral options include:
Accessing Treasury forfeiture funds
An estimated $680 million
- Would not require the President to declare a national emergency.
- Includes unobligated funds from participating agencies that can be used to support law enforcement activities.
- After the Office of Management and Budget reviews the order, Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security would both notify Congress then wait 15 days before the funds can be obligated.
- Acquisition of land is allowed under this option.
Using USC 284 to divert some Pentagon funds for counter-narcotics
Up to an estimated $2 billion
- May not require the President to declare a national emergency, according to a CRS legal report.
- DHS must exercise a waiver to transfer counter-drug funds to construct fencing to block drug smuggling.
- DHS asks Department of Defense to assist after identifying a location where a fence is needed to block drug smuggling corridor.
Using USC 2808 to gain access to military construction funds
An estimated $3.6 billion
- Would require the President to declare a national emergency.
- Would require the use of the military.
- The President would declare border protection a Defense Department mission.
Use Army Corps civil works funds using USC 2293
An estimated $3 billion
- Would require the President to declare a national emergency, according to a US government official.
- The Secretary of the Army may stop or defer Army civil works projects and apply funds to help build civil defense projects essential for the national defense (Secretary of the Army makes the final determination if essential to national defense).
- The unspent funds that could be used are now designated to go toward Army Corps of Engineers projects to repair infrastructure damaged by natural disasters.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Veronica Stracqualursi, Kaitlan Collins, Tammy Kupperman, Jim Acosta, Pamela Brown, Abby Phillip, Maegan Vazquez and Joe Johns contributed to this report.