Donald Trump is poised to sign off on legislation to fund the United States government and avoid another shutdown — but his anger over the deal is likely to see him take extreme measures to build his wall.
CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett said on Wednesday the President had been offered the “worst deal of all the ones ever put before him”, which only includes $US1.375 billion for border security funding.
Mr Trump had wanted far more for his wall on the US-Mexico border, $US5.7 billion, and has vowed to find other routes to get the cash.
“The great deal maker dealt himself the worst possible hand of all of them given to him by Congress,” said Garrett, adding that Mr Trump had “no choice” but to take it.
The correspondent said it was “more likely than not” that the President would then declare a national emergency.
Republican Chris Stewart told CNN the record 35-day shutdown had been for nothing. “It didn’t help us,” he said. “The deal we ended up with now is worse than we had before the shutdown.”
And what comes next remains a huge question mark, with a senior GOP aide telling the network: “It’s not like there’s a Plan B right now.”
The draft text is set to be published this afternoon local time, and Congress will vote on it tomorrow. The President has until midnight on Friday to sign the deal and keep the government open.
The White House said Mr Trump was looking at his options for funding the border wall, which could include declaring a national emergency or taking executive action to divert funds from elsewhere in government.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the White House on Wednesday it was hard to say “hard to say definitively whether or not the President is going to sign” until he had seen the final text of the legislation.
“The President isn’t fully happy, as he said yesterday, with everything that’s in the legislation but there are some positive pieces of it,” she said. “At the end of the day, the President is going to build the wall.”
She told Fox News Mr Trump had “alternative options” to build the wall and was “going keep those on the table.” These could include accessing Treasury funds, military construction funds or Army Corps civil works funds.
Democrats have vowed to take legal action if he attempts to declare a national emergency to find the money he wants, promising more chaos within the divided US administration.
Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters the President was “very inclined” to declare a national emergency.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown,” Mr Trump said at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. “If you did have it, it’s the Democrats’ fault. And I accepted the first one, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished because people learned during that shutdown all about the problems coming in from the southern border.
He said he was “not happy” about the deal, which was “not enough”, saying he would add “things to it”, although he did say what.
“I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled,” he told reporters. “I can tell you that, am I happy, at first glance? I just got to see it. The answer is no, I’m not. I’m not happy.”
On Tuesday evening, he thanked congressional Republicans on Twitter “for the work you have done in dealing with the Radical Left on Border Security” and drafting the agreement.
The President has been ramping up his rhetoric about the apparent crisis at the border in recent days, claiming the US faced an “invasion” of criminal illegal immigrants.