Legislators worked late Monday night on an agreement to avoid another government shutdown this week. And according to Associated Press (AP) reports this morning the deal that has been agreed to by both sides falls far short of the wall funding that the president had been demanding for months:
“Republicans were desperate to avoid another bruising shutdown. They tentatively agreed Monday night to far less money for President Donald Trump’s border wall than the White House’s $5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of nearly $1.4 billion, according to congressional aides. The funding measure is through the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.”
“The agreement means 55 miles (88 kilometers) of new fencing — constructed through existing designs such as metal slats instead of a concrete wall — but far less than the 215 miles (345 kilometers) the White House demanded in December. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.”
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, (R-Ala) told the AP:
“With the government being shut down, the specter of another shutdown this close, what brought us back together I thought tonight was we didn’t want that to happen again.”
Asked if Trump would back the deal, Shelby said: “We believe from our dealings with them and the latitude they’ve given us, they will support it. We certainly hope so.”
Last weekend, Shelby had stopped the negotiations due to Democratic demands to limit detentions of immigrants by federal border patrol officers. Democrats eventually yielded on that issue in a fresh round of talks on Monday, allowing the agreement to be reached.
Details of the deal will be officially released later today. This gives Congress enough time to prevent a second partial government shutdown on Friday. Congresional aides revealed the details to the AP on the condition that they remain anonymous because the deal has not been finalized.
“Our staffs are still working out the details,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, (D-N.Y.)
The border security agreement includes funding increases for new technology including advanced screening at border entry points. It also provides money for humanitarian aid sought by Democrats, and funding for more customs officers.
Speaking at his rally at the border in El Paso, Texas Trump addressed the work of the bipartisan congressional committee:
“They said that progress is being made with this committee,” Trump told his audience. “Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway.”
It’s not clear what he meant by that, and it is possible it was just one more rally lie that he told to get cheers from his audience. Since he lost the battle over the first shutdown, he’s trying to save face now since he will have to agree to a bill with much less money than he had demanded. And it will include no money for a border wall.
Trump has lost the battle over his beloved wall, and he is facing several major legal challenges that might end his presidency. His rally in El Paso last night made him feel better temporarily, but it won’t be long before his entire house of cards comes crashing down.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.