Kudlow: Trump is not ready to sign border deal

Kudlow: Trump is not ready to sign border deal

White House economist Larry Kudlow appears in the briefing room.(WhiteHouse.gov file photo)

WASHINGTON — Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economist, said Thursday that President Donald Trump is still weighing the bipartisan deal to bolster border security and stave off a partial government shutdown.

“He’s looking at it,” Kudlow told reporters during an impromptu Q+A in the White House briefing room. “I think it came in very late last night. He’s taking a look at that, you’ll hear more about it when he’s ready.”

Under the deal, Republicans would secure $1.3 billion for a physical barrier or wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The money would be used to build about 55 miles of barricades in the Rio Grande Valley. In return, Democrats would obtain an agreement to limit the number of beds for detainees held at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities to about 45,000.

The legislative language was released late Wednesday and will likely be voted on Thursday.

If the president refuses to sign the bill, the U.S. government would enter a partial government shutdown when funding runs out at midnight on Saturday.

Approximately 25 percent of government was shuttered between Dec. 22, 2018, and Jan. 25.

The president ultimately signed legislation to restore funding for three weeks and setting up a bicameral border security committee.

At the time, Trump said he expected Congress to meet his $5.7 billion request. If not, Trump promised the government would either shut down again or he would declare a national emergency along the border.

In recent days, he has shifted his messaging, publicly stating that his administration will work to find alternative funding sources.

Still, Trump has played coy.

When pressed Wednesday, the president said he still needs to examine the bill for “landmines” before committing to it.

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