The latest bipartisan deal reportedly includes $1.37billion for new border fencing along 55 miles of the frontier with Mexico – but not the $5.7billion President Trump had demanded to build his promised concrete wall. The White House said it was not clear whether Mr Trump would sign the bill if it reaches his desk, though an influential Republican congressman signalled it was likely he would. President Trump yesterday said he was not happy with the deal and did not rule out vetoing it.
But to get around opposition for the controversial border wall from Democrats in Congress, the president is said to be considering other ways to secure funding.
Reallocating federal funds earmarked for other uses and executive orders are among the options being explored, according to US media reports.
Congress has until midnight on Friday to pass legislation to fund the government and avert a second partial shutdown.
Some federal agencies were forced to close for 35 days over December and January after Mr Trump abruptly withdrew his support for a similar compromise and demanded lawmakers fund his wall.
The shutdown was the longest in US history, far surpassing the previous record of 21 days, and senior Republicans in Congress have little appetite for another.
Addressing reporters yesterday, US Representative Mark Meadows, head of the Republicans’ conservative caucus in the House, said: ”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 borders.”
But the White House today refused to be drawn on the issue, with spokeswoman Sarah Sanders saying the president would need to see the finished bill before making a decision.
She said: “It’s hard to say definitively whether or not the president is going to sign it until we know everything that’s in it.”
Mr Trump has previously spoken of declaring a national emergency to secure funding for his wall.
Such a move could allow him to allocate funds for the project but experts are divided over whether it would be legal and it would almost certainly face opposition from Congress and the courts.
Asked yesterday whether he would consider declaring a national emergency, Mr Trump said: “I’m considering everything.”
President Trump made a physical barrier along the southern border with Mexico one of the central pledges of his 2016 election campaign.
He insists the wall is needed to stop illegal immigrants, criminals and drugs from moving into the United States.
Mr Trump initially vowed that Mexico would fund the project, but Mexican officials rejected that.
The president has since said “obviously” Mexico was not going to make a lump sum payment but will pay for the wall indirectly through the trade agreement his administration negotiated with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA.
Democrats have called a wall expensive, ineffective and immoral.