With US lawmakers set to vote on the legislation that would prevent a second government shutdown on Thursday night, key Republicans have advised the President to make a deal.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on February 14, 2019

Trump is believed to have been amenable to the suggestion he agrees to the congressional deal which would stave off another shutdown.

The deal on offer would also allocate some funds for border security, though the amount allocated to build “barriers” (US$1.37 billion) would be well short of the US$5.7 billion he sought to build the wall.

Speaking to the media at the White House while meeting with Colombian leader Iván Duque, Trump said another shutdown “would be a terrible thing”.

Republican colleagues believe Trump will agree to the deal

“I think a point was made with the last shutdown. People realised how bad the border is, how unsafe the border is, and I think a lot of good points were made.

“I don’t want to see another one,” he continued. “There’s no reason for it.”

Trump was still waiting to see the text of the congressional budget deal, but colleagues told him it was imperfect but needed to be signed. He reportedly told cabinet members he was “not happy” with the deal but wanted to avoid the shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was among those suggesting Trump would end up signing it. “I think he’s got a pretty good deal here,” he told reporters. Senator Lindsey Graham also said the President was “inclined” to make a deal, though left open the possibility that Trump would declare a national emergency to secure the funding.

It is believed the new deal has seen the Democrats back off from their demand for a cap on the number of immigrants Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are able to detain.

Trump still determined to construct the wall

Trump did not go so far as to say he would approve of the legislation to continue government funding and avoid the shutdown and later he vowed the wall would still get built somehow.

“The wall is very very on its way,” he said. “It’s a big wall, a strong wall.”

He added that any illegal immigrants attempting to breach the wall “will be able to climb Mount Everest a lot easier”.

Meanwhile, Texas Republican Ted Cruz had the novel idea of making ‘El Chapo’ pay for the border wall. He introduced legislation that would direct all money seized from convicted cartel members into the construction of the wall. Joaquin Guzman, better known as El Chapo, was convicted on ten counts of drug smuggling, firearms possession and money laundering in Nee York yesterday.

Trump had been widely blamed for the 35-day shutdown, but recent polling suggests he is actually more popular now and has increased his support among independent voters.

The deadline for Congress to agree on a deal is Friday night.

Header image credit: Gage Skidmore