With the ticking of the clock before the US government shutdown in as many months, the suspense on Wednesday increased over whether Donald Trump would sign the recent deal over a modest border barrier given the signs that the deal could be in the nick of an implosion ,
With all eyes fixed on the midnight deadline on Friday – if parts of the federal government are closed, if there are no final accommodations available – reports indicate that Trump had reluctantly signed the contract negotiators had reached. It would give him less than $ 1.4 billion for his border wall to Mexico – far less than he had requested – although his high-ranking aides had strongly suggested that he would try to take additional funds from other federal budgets.
CNN reported Wednesday morning that they had spoken with two anonymous sources that Trump intended to sign the deal to prevent a repeat of last month's close, the longest such disruption in US history. This was repeated by CBS News, where an unnamed official said that Trump would "very likely" sign if the agreement landed on his desk.
More riots broke out after it was reported that the deal may still be in trouble even before he reaches the Oval Office. The compromise formula, which was agreed by a panel of 17 negotiating partners from both parties, could now, according to Politico, "solve something".
"It seems the deal was announced a bit too early," said Politico, adding questioningly that "there were both critical and additional issues that have not yet been resolved".
Politico's list of sticking points, as legislators seek to translate the agreement into actual legislation, is not particularly serious and contains linguistic issues about border regulation.
In El Paso's first rally on Monday night in 2019, Trump's new theme seemed to be when the banners around the venue would "finish the wall" and not "build the wall," as well as the song he was leading.
Nevertheless, since Trump's inauguration on the border between the US and Mexico, no mile of new wall has been erected, promising to create such a "beautiful" thing along the more than 1,900-kilometer border. Some existing barrier sections were replaced or renovated, mainly with a picket fence, as there was no agreement to finance the president's long-promised project.
It is also reported that the discussion remains whether or not back payments have to be made for federal contractors affected by the last government suspension.
But as Politico emphasizes: "Many of these issues can be resolved, but there is very little time left." If the deadline on Friday must be met, the House of Representatives must vote on Wednesday for the final bill, so that this is possible on Thursday in the Senate and be sent in time to Trump.
When America reached the last 76 hours before the deadline, Trump continued to advise everyone. "I can not say that I'm happy. I can not say that I'm excited, "he said of the draft treaty that Congress had presented on Tuesday.
However, he told a Cabinet meeting that at next shutdown, "I do not believe it will happen."
While grumbling about the terms of the deal, which would give him only 88 kilometers of new border fences in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, compared to the 215 miles required in December, Trump also made increasingly threatening noise in a raid on federal budgets, to supplement the amount granted by the Congress. ABC News reported that the White House, which has been dealing with this issue for months, is considering the possibility of using Defense Department funds under an obscure rule, so that resources can be diverted to fight illegal drugs.
ABC News also said the Pentagon is investigating whether the military building budget could be redeployed to the border wall.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said last week, "We'll take as much money as you can give us and then we'll go and find the money elsewhere to secure the southern barrier."
The nuclear option would be for Trump to declare a national emergency, giving him access to much higher federal money and effectively bypassing the will of the Congress. That would lead to a constitutional strike by Washington, which even older Republicans are reluctant to see implemented by a Republican president.