Deal in principle reached to avoid new govt shutdown

Source:Reuters Published: 2019/2/12 21:53:41

‘We’re building the wall anyway,’ says Trump


US congressional negotiators on Monday reached a tentative deal to try to avert another partial government shutdown on Saturday, but congressional aides said it did not contain the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump wants for a border wall.

"We reached an agreement in principle" on funding border security programs through September 30, ­Republican Senator Richard Shelby told reporters.

But it was far from clear if the Republican president would embrace the agreement. His December demand for $5.7 billion this year to help pay for a wall on the US-Mexico border - rejected by congressional Democrats - triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month without him getting wall funding.

A congressional aide, who asked not to be identified, said the outline of the deal included $1.37 billion for erecting new fencing along the southern border. That is about the same amount Congress allocated last year and far below what Trump has demanded.

The aide said none of the money would be for a "wall," which Trump has been touting since he launched his campaign for president in 2016. Democrats say the wall would be ­costly and ineffective.

Two other congressional sources said only currently deployed designs could be used for constructing 55 miles (90 kilometers) of additional barriers. Those designs, which include "steel bollard" fencing, have been in use since before Trump became president.

Shortly after the deal was reached in the US Capitol, Trump held a rally in the border city of El Paso, Texas, to argue for the wall he says can protect Americans from violent criminals, drugs and a "tremendous onslaught" of migrant caravans.

Trump said he heard about progress in the talks just before he took the stage, but he too did not discuss details. 

"Just so you know - we're building the wall anyway," he said. "Maybe progress has been made - maybe not."

Beto O'Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from Texas considering a 2020 White House run, held a counter-rally just 200 yards away and accused Trump of stoking "false fear" about immigrants and telling "lies" about O'Rourke's hometown of El Paso.




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