By Erik Sherman
February 12, 2019

There’s good news and bad news on the government shutdown front.

The good: The foundation of a federal budget deal is in place, although still needing work on the details.

The bad: It lacks the $5.7 billion that President Trump demanded, and that was what triggered his refusal to sign a previous deal, resulting in closing nine federal agencies for causing the last government closing.

Congressional leaders reached “an agreement in principle” Monday night, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told reporters, according to Reuters. “Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together.”

Those details, however, will be critical. According to congressional aides, the plan offers Trump $1.4 billion to build 215 miles that Trump wanted in December, according to the Associated Press. Both figures are well below the potential full cost of a wall for the nearly 2,000-mile border, according to multiple expert estimates. The agreement allows for 55 miles of additional barriers over the close to 700 miles that already exist, but reduces the number of ICE detention beds to 40,520 from the existing 49,057.

If events Monday night were any sign, that may not be enough to placate Trump, who was in El Paso, Texas for a campaign rally and to promote his border wall plans.

“We probably have some good news,” Trump said during the event on word that there was a tentative deal. “But who knows?” He also said that “we are building the wall anyway.”

Congress could, in theory, override a veto. But initial opposition from the Freedom Caucus in the House could mean the necessary two-thirds of the chamber would be impossible to reach.

Opposite Trump’s event was one featuring potential Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who said that El Paso was “safe, not because of walls, but in spite of them.”

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