President Donald Trump said he was not pleased with the outlines of US lawmakers’ plan to avert a government shutdown, casting doubt on whether he would actually sign a new spending bill.
“I can’t say I’m happy,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. However, he suggested the wall would get built anyway. “We’re building a wall — we’re building a lot of wall,” he said.
“We’re building a wall and we’re using other methods other than this [congressional budget bill] and in addition this”, Mr Trump said.
Asked if he would consider calling a national emergency to build the wall, Mr Trump replied: “I’m considering everything.”
Mr Trump’s comments came after congressional leaders suggested they would throw their weigh behind the bipartisan compromise struck on Monday night.
The tentative agreement would provide $1.4bn to build 55 miles of steel slat fencing along the border with Mexico. However, that amount is significantly less than the $5.7bn Mr Trump sought ahead of the December-January government shutdown, while the length of the barrier is just one quarter of what the White House originally demanded.
The deal also attempts to broker a compromise on a dispute about the number of detention beds allocated to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains people who cross into the US without papers.
ICE currently uses 49,000 beds, breaching a congressionally mandated cap of 40,500 beds. The tentative deal would cut the number of beds to the existing cap by the end of the 2019 fiscal year. However, Republicans have argued that the agreement allows for up to $750m of Department Homeland Security funding to be reallocated to the detention programme, potentially allowing ICE to fund an additional 13,000 detention beds.