House GOP leaders won't commit to backing border deal

The two top House GOP leaders on Wednesday refused to be pinned down on whether they will back a border security deal that would prevent a new shutdown from starting Saturday.

“I want to make sure we have enough time to thoroughly read the bill,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Congressional leaders to launch budget talks with White House RNC chair on Alabama abortion bill: I would have exceptions for rape, incest MORE (R-Calif.) said. “Why would anybody say they are voting for something they have not read yet?”


Earlier Wednesday, McCarthy’s deputy, Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump encouraged Scalise to run for governor in Louisiana: report We owe a debt of gratitude to all our police officers and their families House votes to extend flood insurance program MORE (R-La.), said that he, too, needed to see more specifics before pledging to vote for the spending package.

"I want to see the text. Obviously they haven't finished writing the language and there are some final details being worked out and those details matter," Scalise told The Hill.

The House is set to vote on the package Thursday evening, the day before the congressional deadline to send a funding deal to Trump.

The legislation, funding multiple federal agencies, is expected to include $1.375 billion for construction of new barriers along the southern border with Mexico, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had been demanding.

Trump is expected to sign the bill, but he hasn't directly said he would. On Tuesday, he said he wasn't happy with the concessions Democrats granted in the negotiations.

McCarthy, who is in frequent contact with Trump, said it was silly to ask if the president had assured him that he would sign the legislation.

“I don’t think the president should assure anything until he reads the bill. That’s why you haven’t heard from me … until I see the language, until I know what’s inside it,” McCarthy told reporters after meeting with rank-and-file Republicans.

McCarthy also knocked Democrats for breaking their “three-day rule” and scheduling the vote shortly after they plan to roll out the text, even though Republicans often did the same thing when they were in the majority.

Both McCarthy and Scalise said they and the president certainly would want more funding for border barriers. But the leaders said Trump could unilaterally shift money from other pots to help supplement border security funding in the bipartisan deal.

“The president still has a few more tools in his toolbox,” McCarthy said.