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Washington - Likely Deal Would Give Trump Fraction Of Desired Wall Money

Published on: February 9, 2019 11:00 PM
By: AP
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From left, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the top Republican on the bipartisan group bargainers working to craft a border security compromise in hope of avoiding another government shutdown, speak with reporters after a briefing with officials about the US-Mexico border, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. Shelby is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)From left, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the top Republican on the bipartisan group bargainers working to craft a border security compromise in hope of avoiding another government shutdown, speak with reporters after a briefing with officials about the US-Mexico border, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. Shelby is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Washington - Congressional bargainers are working toward a border security deal amid indications that the White House is preparing to accept a bipartisan agreement that would give President Donald Trump a fraction of the money he’s demanded for his proposed southern border wall.

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Participants said they expect money for physical barriers to end up well below the $5.7 billion that Trump has sought to begin construction of the wall, which has attained iconic significance for him and his conservative supporters. Underscoring the clout he’s lost during a battle that’s dominated the opening weeks of divided government, the amount seems sure to fall much closer to $1.6 billion, the participants said, a figure that was in a bipartisan Senate bill last year.

“That’s what we’re working toward,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., one bargainer.

An agreement would also avert a new partial federal shutdown next weekend. Trump has warned he might trigger a new closure of agencies if he doesn’t get his way, but that threat has become toothless because of solid opposition from GOP lawmakers burned by the record 35-day closure that he initiated in December.

One White House aide said Trump was expected to back whatever compromise emerges and acknowledged there is no will among congressional Republicans for another shutdown. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

Coupled with a widespread expectation that the agreement would not use the term “wall,” the pact would represent a significant retreat for Trump, for whom “Build the wall!” has been a battle cry since his presidential campaign.

Democrats seemed to draw a firm line on spending.

“Throughout the talks, Democrats have insisted that a border security compromise not be overly reliant on physical barriers,” said Evan Hollander, spokesman for Democrats who control the House Appropriations Committee. “We will not agree to $2 billion in funding for barriers.”

In another signal that Trump was reluctantly preparing to give ground, the White House has been considering accepting the deal but also using executive action to secure additional barrier funding without lawmakers’ approval. That plan was described by two people familiar with White House thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Depending on what Trump does, such an action could spark lawsuits or congressional votes of disapproval.

Trump supporters have said there are other executive powers Trump could use to divert money from the budget to wall construction, though it was unclear if they would face challenges in Congress or the courts. One provision of the law lets the Defense Department provide support for counter-drug activities.

Besides the dollar figure, talks were focusing on the type and location of barriers, participants said. Also in play were the number of beds the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency could have for detained migrants and the amount of aid included for natural disaster relief.

Money for high-tech surveillance equipment and more personnel was also expected to be included.

No one ruled out last-minute problems, especially with Trump’s penchant for head-snapping turnabouts. But the momentum was clearly toward clinching an agreement that Congress could pass by next Friday. The next day, many government agencies would run out of money and have to close again without a deal.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who leads the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, said he spoke Thursday night to Trump, who he said was in “wait and see” mode. Meadows said he expects an agreement to provide an amount closer to $1.6 billion.

“I’m not optimistic it’ll be something the president can support,” Meadows said.

A conservative House GOP aide said Freedom Caucus members wanted at least $2 billion for barriers and no restrictions on new construction, land acquisition or new types of barriers that could be built.

The aide also said the agreement need not contain the term “wall,” a word that Trump has lately alternated between embracing and abandoning. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private talks.

If there is a bipartisan deal, there would likely be enough votes to pass it without the most conservative Republicans or the most liberal Democrats.



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1

 Feb 10, 2019 at 11:55 AM house intelligence Says:

The Democrats next held a gathering on June 10, 2016 per an AP report:
It was 4 p.m. on Friday June 10 when some 100 staffers filed into the Democratic National Committee’s main conference room for a mandatory, all-hands meeting.
“What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room,” DNC chief operating officer Lindsey Reynolds told the assembled crowd, according to two people there at the time.
Everyone needed to turn in their laptops immediately; there would be no last-minute emails; no downloading documents and no exceptions. Reynolds insisted on total secrecy.
“Don’t even talk to your dog about it,” she was quoted as saying.
Reynolds didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Two days later, as the cybersecurity firm that was brought in to clean out the DNC’s computers finished its work, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a British Sunday television show that emails related to Clinton were “pending publication.”
“WikiLeaks has a very good year ahead,” he said.
On Tuesday, June 14, the Democrats went public with the allegation that their computers had been compromised by Russian state-backed hackers, including Fancy Bear.
The DNC was never hacked by Russians.

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 Feb 10, 2019 at 08:28 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

A lot of people want a wall. I am not one of them, but I understand that to get the things I want want, I have to give them things they want. Some parts of the frontier probably could use a wall anyway.

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