Hoyer: No confidence Trump would sign a border deal

Hoyer: No confidence Trump would sign a border deal
© Greg Nash
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOvernight Defense: Top Marine warns border deployment could hurt readiness | McSally aims for sexual assault reforms in defense bill | House to vote on measure opposing transgender ban | New warning over F-35 sale to Turkey House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts House to vote on measure opposing transgender military ban MORE (D-Md.) cautioned Wednesday that, while bipartisan negotiators may reach a border security deal in time to stave off another partial government shutdown, he has no confidence President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE would sign the measure.
 
Hoyer said he is optimistic the ongoing talks will yield an agreement by the end of the week, but added that Trump's inconsistent and unpredictable messaging surrounding his border wall demands means there is no certainty such a deal would win the president's signature.
 
A failure to resolve the spending impasse by Feb. 15 would lead to another shutdown, just three weeks after the previous 35-day standoff ended.
 
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"If they get to an agreement ... and that is confirmed by a vote of the House and by the Senate, I certainly hope the president of the United States would agree with the product," Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. "Am I sure of that? No. Why? Because he's changed his mind [before]."
 
The comments came the morning after Trump delivered his annual State of the Union address, which pivoted between calls for bipartisan cooperation on major policy items and attacks on Democrats as too extreme to govern the country.
 
On the topic of the border wall — the central issue of Trump's 2016 campaign — he was particularly combative, warning that a "proper wall" is vital to the nation's security.
 
"I will get it built," he said.
 
Bipartisan negotiators seeking an agreement on Department of Homeland Security funding will meet for the second time Wednesday in the Capitol. Trump has demanded $5.7 billion for new wall construction — a nonstarter in the eyes of Democrats, who are offering alternative border security measures that include new technologies and enhanced fencing.
 
"As long as the president is willing to accept evidence-based proposals, then I think we can arrive at a bipartisan agreement," Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesPelosi, Dems plot strategy after end of Mueller probe Bipartisan think tank to honor lawmakers who offer 'a positive tenor' GOP leader needles Dems on anti-Semitism resolution MORE (N.Y.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday morning. "If the president is only interested in funding a reckless political promise with respect to a medieval border wall — that will be ineffective at improving our security — then we're going to have an issue."
 
Pressed on the fencing issue, Jeffries suggested Democrats would be open to accepting some new barriers.
 
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"We have supported enhanced fencing, where appropriate, in the past," he said. "I think that we expect that if the evidence supports the notion for enhanced fencing moving forward, that you will find some bipartisan consensus in that regard."
 
Yet Hoyer cautioned that Trump had signaled support for a short-term spending package, passed by the GOP-controlled Senate in December, only to reverse course and oppose the measure when it was sent over to the House, which was also under Republican control at the time.
 
"There's all sorts of speculation as to why he changed his mind," Hoyer said, citing opposition from prominent conservative commentators. "But in any event he changed his mind, so I don't think any of us can be confident that if they reach an agreement that that will [be backed by] the president."
 
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi, Dems plot strategy after end of Mueller probe Coons after Russia probe: House Dems need to use power in 'focused and responsible way' Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings MORE (D-Calif.) has also warned that Trump is the wildcard in the spending talks. Pelosi, who like Hoyer is a former appropriator, said after the State of the Union speech that she's confident the negotiators will reach a deal.
 
But how Trump reacts to a potential is anyone's guess.
 
"Left to their own devices, they weigh the equities, they understand the resources that are available, the differences that we have and they can come up with a path," Pelosi said. "And the only problem is, is if he would stand in the way of that path."
 
 
He suggested the outside forces of Trump and Pelosi were bogging down the talks.
 
"We've shown we can do it, if people leave us alone," Shelby said on CNN's "State of the Union."
 
Pelosi said she has since spoken with Shelby and told him that she's not trying to sway the outcome.
 
"I have told Sen. Shelby I respect whatever comes out of the committee. I'm not influencing it; I respect it, because I respect the bipartisanship I know that exists there," Pelosi said Tuesday night. "I hope the White House would take the same tack."
 
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D), a negotiator who represents a Texas border district, said following Trump's speech that there are two remaining sticking points: detention beds and the wall. But Cuellar said he was heartened that Trump did not use his speech to threaten another shutdown and suggested there's enough wiggle room in the wall debate to reach a deal.
 
"There's one thing that stood out: He never, never said, 'I'm going to shut down the government if I don't get my $5.7 billion,'" Cuellar said. "I can tell you, as one of the negotiators, we're not going to give him $5.7 billion. It's not going to happen."
 
Cuellar said he would use Wednesday's meeting to advance "some ideas I have about enhanced barriers."
 
"If they're open minded and they work with local communities, I think we can get moving in the right direction," he said.
 
"There's a lot of things we're already in agreement [on]," he added. "And I think we can get there. You know, people just have to be a little flexible."