New York: United States President Donald Trump has said he was not “thrilled” by a border security deal reached by a bipartisan group of lawmakers but appeared to express openness to the agreement to avert another government shutdown, suggesting that he will find sources of money for his controversial border wall other than Congress.
Democrats and Republicans have struck a deal to offer $1.375 billion for 88.5 kilometres of new barriers along the southern border, as well as other border security measures to avert another crippling government shutdown over Trump’s wall along the US-Mexico border.
The funding offer is far less than the $5.7 billion Trump demanded late last year when he triggered a record partial government shutdown that lasted 35 days. Building a wall along the US-Mexico border is a campaign promise of the 72-year-old Republican President.
Trump said that he is looking at getting $23 billion for border security from various sources.
“Will be getting almost USD 23 BILLION for Border Security. Regardless of Wall money, it is being built as we speak!” Trump tweeted as the lawmakers entered into the agreement to prevent another government shutdown after February 15.
“Was just presented the concept and parameters of the Border Security Deal by hard working Senator Richard Shelby. Looking over all aspects knowing that this will be hooked up with lots of money from other sources....,” Trump said, indicating that he will be bringing money for the border wall from other sources as well.
Earlier in the day, during a Cabinet meeting, Trump said the wall is being built.
“We’re doing a lot of wall right now. Just started a big portion of the wall in the Rio Grande Valley, which is now the biggest area for people coming in. We’ve sealed up a lot of the areas where people come in,” he said.
Referring to the deal among lawmakers on the border security, he said he is not happy with it.
“I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m thrilled. But the wall is getting built, regardless. It doesn’t matter. Because we’re doing other things beyond what we’re talking about here. So we’ll see what happens,” he told reporters.
“The Democrats want everybody to be able to come into our country. We have many criminals. When you look at the numbers of criminals that are nabbed,” he said and accused the Democrats of being ‘obstructionists’.
Responding to a question, he did not give a definite answer if he will sign the Congress’ border deal.
“I have to study it. I’m not happy about it. It’s not doing the trick. But I’m adding things to it. And when you add whatever I have to add, it’s all going to happen where we’re going to build a beautiful, big, strong wall that’s not going to let criminals and traffickers and drug dealers and drugs into our country. It’s very simple. It’s very simple,” he said.
In December, Trump pushed back at Congress by refusing to fund large sections of the government, leading to record-breaking government shutdown in America’s history that affected some 800,000 federal employees.
Last month, Trump backed a deal to temporarily end the five-week shutdown despite getting no funding for his controversial plan to build the wall along the US-Mexico border.
The deal resolved the crippling 35-day closure but not the fight over his proposed border wall. He had given Congress until February 15 to come up with the wall money or face another shutdown.
The federal government shutdown cost the US economy a whopping $11 billion, including a permanent $3 billion loss, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said last month.