President Trump says he made his point — the U.S. needs a border wall, and he will build it with or without Congress.
Rather than force another unpopular and economically harmful government shutdown, Mr. Trump sounds increasingly willing to accept the agreement in Congress that provides about $1.3 billion for border barriers. That’s less than one-fourth of the $5.7 billion that he demanded initially for a wall.
“I think a point was made with the last shutdown,” the president said Wednesday. “People realized how bad the border is, how unsafe the border is.”
Lawmakers sorted out the details of the agreement and released details of the bill early Thursday morning. The House and Senate will be voting on the bill later in the day.
The nearly 1,800-page spending bill has money for 55 miles of new border “fencing” in Texas, and money to maintain a daily average of 45,274 detention beds under Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the agency that now holds more than 49,000 immigrants who live in the U.S. illegally in custody. The bill also provides the authority to move cash around to go above that level, if the Homeland Secretary determines it’s needed.
When that question and others were still unresolved late Wednesday, the conservative House Freedom Caucus called for a one-week extension of stopgap funding to keep the government open and give lawmakers more time to review the fine print of the border deal. Congress is facing a Friday deadline to approve spending bills to keep nine government agencies open.