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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

It Looks Like Trump Will Sign Border Deal and Dodge Another Government Shutdown

By Joe Setyon - February 13, 2019 at 08:56AM

President Donald Trump will likely sign a compromise border deal that would avoid another partial government shutdown, several outlets reported Wednesday morning.

Two unnamed sources told CNN that the president intends to sign the deal, which would keep the government open beyond Friday. The Wall Street Journal reported the news as well, also citing anonymous sources.

What comes next remains unclear. The deal in question has the support of Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, who are eager to avoid another shutdown. It provides Trump with $1.375 billion for physical barriers on the border, according to Politico, not the $5.7 billion he's been demanding for months.

As I pointed out yesterday, it's still possible the president could sign the border deal and still get his way. While the bill funds just 55 of the 215 miles of border wall that the administration wants, Trump could conceivably take executive action to divert Defense or Treasury Department funds to build the wall, according to CNN. He could do this even without declaring a state of emergency.

Speaking to reporters prior to a cabinet meeting yesterday, Trump expressed his misgivings over the deal, but suggested he's "using other methods" to get his wall money.

"Am I happy at first glance?" he said. "I just got to see it. The answer is no, I'm not. I'm not happy."

"It's not going to do the trick, but 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. He also said he doesn't expect there to be another shutdown.

Ultimately, signing this border deal is probably the right thing to do. While government shutdowns might sound good in theory to those who love liberty and hate government overreach, the reality is much more complicated. As Reason's Eric Boehm noted last month, the last shutdown did nothing to actually reduce the federal government's power or cost. (Though it did highlight the intrusive and inappropriate role government plays in industries such as air traffic control and beer-labeling.)

Signing the border deal and then immediately taking executive action to obtain money for the wall would also be a bad idea. That's because building the wall would actually cost tens of billions of dollars and involve seizing private property to provide an ineffective solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.


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