Key GOP senator pitches Trump: Funding deal a ‘down payment’ on wall

Greg Nash
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on Tuesday evening pitched President Trump on the agreement to prevent a second government shutdown, telling the president that the funding was a “down payment” on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. 
Shelby said the president was “concerned” because the deal doesn’t give him “everything he wanted.”
“I told him I shared that, we all do. But realizing after I talked with him … that he’s getting a good down payment,” Shelby added, describing the president’s tone on the deal.{mosads}
The agreement struck on Monday night would fund roughly a quarter of the government through Sept. 30 and provide $1.375 billion for physical barriers along the border. Shelby added that the agreement would provide more than $22 billion on border security — a figure that appears to have resonated with the president. 
“Will be getting almost $23 BILLION for Border Security. Regardless of Wall money, it is being built as we speak,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Tuesday evening.

Trump’s tweet signaled an openness to the agreement after telling reporters earlier in the day that he wasn’t “thrilled” with the deal.

Shelby added that he was urging Trump to evaluate the bill in the context that it’s “only a down payment.” He maintained that questions about whether Trump will sign the bill are “premature.” 

“I’ve told him that, as I said a few minutes ago, that ‘Mr. President, we had a good reception in the caucus today about this and we know it’s multiyear, we know it’s going to cost a lot of money but it’s a good start,’ ” Shelby said. 

Shelby’s meeting with Trump comes after Senate GOP leaders, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), were supportive of the agreement earlier Tuesday. 

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, called the barrier money, which is significantly below the $5.7 billion Trump asked for during the previous 35-day shutdown, a “down payment” for the larger $25 billion Trump wants over several years. 

McConnell also said he believes Trump should sign the agreement, saying the president “got a pretty good deal here.”

Tags Donald Trump John Thune Mitch McConnell Richard Shelby

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