President Trump on Tuesday voiced his discontent with a bipartisan agreement struck by congressional negotiators to avoid a partial government shutdown later this week, but still expressed optimism that agencies would not be forced to once again close their doors.
Leaders from both parties in the appropriations committees in both chambers of Congress announced they had reached an agreement Monday night, but could not say whether Trump would support it. Staffers are currently finalizing the details and writing the legislative text of the measure, which will set funding levels for the Homeland Security Department and the agencies in six additional outstanding spending bills. A current stopgap bill that provided funding to the agencies that have yet to receive full-year appropriations is set to expire Friday evening.
“I have to study it,” Trump said of the agreement ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. “I'm not happy about it. It's not doing the trick.”
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He added, however, that he did not expect to see a repeat of the 35-day lapse in appropriations that ended last month.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown,” Trump said, while seeking to pass any blame for such an event on to Democrats. “I accepted the first one and I’m proud of what we accomplished.”
Trump suggested he may accept the bill, which reportedly will contain just $1.375 billion for physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, because he will reprogram other appropriations toward construction of the wall. “We’re supplementing things,” Trump said, noting he would transfer funds from “far less important areas.”
The president added that it is “always nice to negotiate a little bit” and he was “extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meanwhile, heaped praise on the agreement and expressed optimism his chamber would move the legislation quickly.
“It provides new funds for miles of border barriers and it completes all seven outstanding appropriations bills, so Congress can complete a funding process for all the outstanding parts of the federal government with predictability and certainty,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday, adding he hoped to bring it up for a vote “in short order.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the deal “welcome news.”
“Hopefully this agreement means that there won't be another government shutdown on Friday, sparing the country another nightmare of furloughed federal employees, snarled airports and economic hardship,” Schumer said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on CNBC on Tuesday that he still wanted to look at the details of the bill but spun the agreement as Democrats backtracking on border wall funding and ICE detention capacity. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has vowed to support any agreement struck by the bipartisan negotiators.