GOP leader presses Trump to agree to border deal

Congress is moving forward with a border security deal that would prevent a new shutdown at the end of the week after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE expressed unhappiness but stopped short of saying he would kill it.

Trump, who is getting far less in the $1.375 billion deal for border barriers than he had demanded, said he was “extremely unhappy” with what Democrats had conceded in the negotiations over his border wall.

“It’s sad. They’re doing the country no favors,” Trump said at a meeting with his Cabinet.

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But he predicted there would not be a shutdown, and he said he planned to add to the deal.

“I’m adding things to it, and when you add whatever I have to add, it’s all going to happen where we’re going to build a beautiful, big, strong wall,” Trump said.

Hours after Trump’s remarks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? Dems charge ahead on immigration Biden and Bernie set for clash MORE (R-Ky.) said he hoped that Trump would sign the deal, adding that “I think he’s got a pretty good deal here.”

"I have recommended that if it becomes what we think it is, I do recommend he sign it," McConnell told reporters. "I think he's got a pretty good deal here."

McConnell, who sought to prevent the partial government shutdown triggered by Trump in December, also signaled he would not oppose Trump if he declares a national emergency to build his wall. Such a declaration has divided Republicans, many of whom think it would set a bad precedent that a future Democratic leader could use to spend money on health care or climate change.

McConnell said the president should feel free to use whatever tools are at his disposal to augment funding for border barriers.

“I think he ought to feel free to use whatever tools he can legally use to enhance his effort to secure the border, so no I would not be troubled by that,” he said.

The 35-day partial shutdown that ended in January sunk Trump’s approval ratings and badly divided Republicans, who near its end were pleading with McConnell to convince the White House to end it. 

On Tuesday morning, after Republican and Democratic negotiators announced their deal, many were bracing for what the president would say.

Conservative pundits including Fox News host Sean Hannity have hammered the deal, and such criticism influenced Trump in December when he effectively trash-canned a Senate deal to keep the government open.

Ann Coulter, the conservative author seen as goading Trump into killing a potential deal in December, mocked the Monday night agreement as the “Yellow New Deal,” playing on a color sometimes symbolic of cowardice and the Green New Deal touted by House liberals to protect the environment.

There were some signs Tuesday that allies of Trump wanted to avoid a new shutdown even if they disliked the deal worked out by House and Senate appropriators.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Mueller report poses new test for Dems Washington in frenzy over release of Mueller report MORE (R-N.C.), who also played a key role in persuading Trump to oppose the Senate stopgap spending bill in December, said Tuesday he would vote against the new deal.

He predicted that Trump would probably sign the bill into law, albeit with reservations.

“I think the president will sign it. I think he will do so reluctantly and then obviously have to use executive actions to secure our border,” he told reporters.

Trump did not flatly say he would sign the measure, and many Republicans on Capitol Hill avoided taking a position on the legislation on Tuesday.

Neither Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ MORE (R-Calif.) nor Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph Scalise20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure This week: Democrats revive net neutrality fight MORE (R-La.) took a formal position on the border deal Tuesday. The two top House GOP leaders, friendly rivals who engaged in a shadow campaign for Speaker last year, want as little daylight with Trump as possible and don’t want to be for the deal if Trump comes out against it.    

In an interview with CNBC, McCarthy lamented that he wished the deal had more money for Trump’s wall but suggested that the president could find other ways to fund border security.

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

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage MORE (N.Y.) hailed the deal as a breakthrough, although he cautioned the details still need to be finalized.

“While the details are being hammered out, the tentative agreement represents a path forward for our country — away from another round of fraught negotiations up against a government funding cliff, away from a dreaded government shutdown,” he said.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTrolling of Bill Barr shows how language is twisted to politics Barr says Mueller report will be released 'within a week' Live coverage: Barr faces House panel amid questions over Mueller report MORE (D-N.Y.) says she has read Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrevor Noah on lack of Pelosi nickname from Trump: 'There is a reverence for her' Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? MORE (D-Calif.) into the deal and Pelosi previously said she would accept what the conferees agree to.

A spokesman for Pelosi said she is backing the deal.

Legislative text is expected to be released on Wednesday, and a House vote could come as soon as the same day.

The House schedule is in flux, however, because a funeral mass will be held for the late Rep. John DingellJohn DingellAlaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history The Hill's 12:30 Report: Cohen back on the hot seat Cummings shows how oversight should be done - and that's bad news for Trump MORE (D-Mich.) in Washington on Thursday. A funeral service for the late Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesNorth Carolina reporter says there could be 'new crop' of GOP candidates in 9th Congressional District race House pays tribute to Walter Jones GOP leader presses Trump to agree to border deal MORE (R-N.C.) is also scheduled in North Carolina the same day.

It’s possible the deal could lose the votes of Democrats who think it does too little to restrict the number of immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“It's not what I wanted to see, but it represents the fact that we have a split” control of Congress, said Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling' Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal MORE (Ill.), who said he wants to see the final version before deciding how to vote.

Durbin said he's concerned ICE is “arresting people who are not dangerous and deporting them.”

McConnell urged GOP senators to support the bill by warning that if it gets shelved, Congress will wind up passing a continuing resolution or face another shutdown.

And Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Conservatives urge Trump to stick with Moore for Fed Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field MORE (R-Ala.), who negotiated the deal, told colleagues at lunch that “it’s the best we could do under difficult circumstances,” according to a lawmaker in the room.

No one in the room spoke up to argue against passing the deal, a second GOP senator attending the meeting said.

Shelby later told reporters that he had to face the reality that Democrats now control half of Congress.

He said Trump’s staff were fully apprised about the negotiations as they progressed.

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator: 'No problem' with Mueller testifying The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Graham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying MORE (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate-House conference committee that negotiated the deal, said that Trump could reprogram some money to supplement the $1.375 billion provided in the deal for border barriers.

But the amount he said Trump could shift, roughly $800 million from defense accounts to the Department of Homeland Security, would still give the president only a fraction of the amount he requested from Congress.

Jordain Carney and Cristina Marcos contributed.