WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers has a deal on paper to keep the government funded. The fight over funding the Department of Homeland Security and five other agencies is nearing an end. But lawmakers are tempering optimism until the president’s ink meets paper.
“It will restore the American people's’ faith in our Republic,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN).
Fleischmann says the bipartisan deal was hung up on two main issues: funding for President Donald Trump’s border barrier and the number of detention beds used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Fleischmann and his fellow negotiators came up with $1.375 billion for a physical barrier $4.3 billion below the president’s ask. The number of ICE beds landed at over 40,000 - below current levels but well over Democrat wishes.
“Those figures in and of themselves are not going to make anyone really happy,” said Fleischmann.
Fleischmann wanted more for the wall. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) says he wanted fewer beds, but knows something had to give.
“We sat down. We understood where everybody was at. We worked to a compromise and that’s why we’re here. That’s what the whole system is all about,” said Cuellar.
There’s a deal on paper but nothing is settled just yet. The biggest hurdle remaining is at the White House, where President Donald Trump will have to decide whether to sign off on the agreement.
“I’m not happy,” President Trump told reporters Tuesday.
The president says he is not satisfied with what Democrats have come up with, despite it being a bipartisan agreement. He says he is already pursuing other avenues to build the wall he wants.
“Right now we’re building a lot of wall. And you think it’s easy? We’re building in the face of tremendous obstruction,” said President Trump.
Conference members expect Congress to vote on the deal in the next day or so. Then it heads to President Trump’s desk.