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 TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' 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 McConnellToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Election meddling has become the new normal of US diplomacy DC statehood push faces long odds despite record support 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 MeadowsClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump The Hill Interview: Sanford says Trump GOP doing 'serious brand destruction' GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan 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 McCarthyClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to 'cooperate' with antitrust probe MORE (R-Calif.) nor Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseScalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms Liz Cheney calls for 'proportional military response' against Iran On The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes 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 SchumerToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Schumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey 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 LoweyHouse votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November The Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution Two years after Maria, Puerto Rico awaits disaster funds MORE (D-N.Y.) says she has read Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRomney: Trump asking Ukraine to investigate political rival 'would be troubling in the extreme' Pelosi: Whistleblower complaint 'must be addressed immediately' Democrats must embrace Israel and denounce anti-Semitism in the party 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 DingellEnergy efficiency cannot be a partisan issue for Washington Polling director: Young voters swayed by health care, economy, gun control McCain and Dingell: Inspiring a stronger Congress MORE (D-Mich.) in Washington on Thursday. A funeral service for the late Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesRepublican Greg Murphy wins special election in NC's 3rd District Early voting extended in NC counties impacted by Dorian ahead of key House race The Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina special election poses test for GOP ahead of 2020 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 DurbinOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately 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 ShelbyFight over Trump's wall raises odds of 'continuous' stopgap measures McConnell support for election security funds leaves Dems declaring victory Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security 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 BluntClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump McConnell support for election security funds leaves Dems declaring victory Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer 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.