SALT LAKE CITY — At least one Utah member of Congress isn't pleased with the bipartisan federal budget deal because it contains too little for a border wall and doesn't address so-called “Dreamers.”
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said he's "disappointed" in the proposal, but would "probably" vote for it and believes President Donald Trump will sign it. The four-term congressman isn't happy that what once was a $25 billion request for border security is down to a "fraction" of that.
"Obviously I can’t look at that and go, 'Well that’s swell' because I don’t think it's swell, I don’t think it’s good," he said Wednesday on CNN. "But it’s the deal that we have and, frankly, I think we’ve come to the end of this road. I think that’s the best we’re going to get."
Trump has not said whether he would sign the spending bill should it reach his desk.
Details of the deal are still being worked out, but it includes about $1.4 billion for 55 miles of barriers at the southern border and a limit of about 40,000 detention beds at Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. Currently, ICE has capacity for about 49,000 detentions.
The government would partially shut down again if a deal is not reached before midnight Friday.
Stewart said he's "very disappointed" the proposal doesn't address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The policy allows children of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the country.
The Trump administration tried to end the program in late 2017, but federal courts in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., have blocked the move.
"We wanted to give some protection to ‘Dreamers’ and we couldn't get there, and we couldn't get there because the Democrats wouldn't work with us on that," Stewart said.
Stewart said the deal on the table now is worse than the one that the previous Congress couldn't get passed last December, leading to a 45-day government shutdown.
"The last thing in the world I want is another government shutdown. We didn’t get anything out of this. We didn’t accomplish anything by it. I think the president probably feels the same way," he said.
On CNN, Stewart also was asked about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Like other recently released reports, the congressman said he doesn't think the Mueller probe will find any evidence of collusion.43 comments on this story
Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Mueller should make his entire investigation public when it's completed.
"I hope they don’t redact a single sentence, a single paragraph. Part of the reason is I don’t think they're going to find anything there," he said, adding that if anything is blacked out conspiracy theorists will continue to question the report.
"I just think we’ll be talking about his like we did JFK for another generation, I hope the whole thing is provided to the American people," he said.