The agreement represents a remarkable turnaround within 24 hours.
Congressional negotiators announced an “agreement in principle” Monday night on a broad spending bill they hope will satisfy President Donald Trump’s demands for additional border barriers and avert another government shutdown at the end of this week.
The compromise represents a remarkable turnaround for negotiators tasked with staving off another shutdown, just hours after lawmakers on both sides said the talks were on the brink of falling apart.
“We reached an agreement in principle between us on all the homeland security and the other six bills,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a lead Republican negotiator. “The White House has been consulted all along,” Shelby added, noting that he’s been given “latitude” to negotiate on behalf of the administration.
The tentative deal includes $1.375 billion for physical barriers — a type of fencing that resembles the “steel slats” that Trump has specifically called for, according to a congressional aide briefed on the talks. It includes a total of 55 miles, which is just 9 miles shy of Trump’s last budget request.
In exchange, Democrats agreed to drop their demand to restrict the number of people who can be detained by Immigration and Custom Enforcement at a time. Negotiators agreed to fund a total of 40,520 detention beds for ICE, a roughly 17 percent reduction from current levels, the aide said.
But one Republican source was quick to dispute Democrats’ account, saying the $1.375 billion in barrier funding can be used for “new miles of border wall.” The same Republican source suggested that the deal had enough flexibility to actually reach the president’s requested level of 52,000 beds, far above the negotiated level.
Details of the final deal may not be released until Wednesday, which has both parties aggressively attempting to spin the proposal as a win.
Shelby and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said they had approval from congressional leaders, namely Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Shelby said he was also hopeful Trump would back the agreement but would not say directly if the president had promised to do so.
“The president told me, straight up, when I was with him… He told me more than once that if you can work out a legislative solution to this, do it. That’s what we’re trying to do,” said Shelby, who met with Trump last week. “Considering everything, this would be a good deal.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on government negotiations over border security (all times local):
Three people familiar with Congress’ tentative border security deal tell The Associated Press that the accord would provide $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers.
That’s well below the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump demanded to build over 200 miles of wall along the Mexican boundary. The money will be for vertical steel slats called bollards, not a solid wall.
Democrats dropped their proposal to limit the number of detained immigrants caught inside the U.S. to a daily average of 16,500. Republicans opposed that demand. There is currently no such limit.
Bargainers agreed to fund 40,520 beds to detain immigrants entering or in the U.S. illegally. That’s the same number funded last year, though the actual figure held is around 49,000.
The sources described details of the still-secret agreement only on condition of anonymity.
Negotiators in Congress say they have reached an agreement in principle to fund the government and avoid another partial government shutdown.
The emerging agreement was announced by a group of lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, after a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.
The talks had cratered over the weekend because of Democratic demands to limit immigrant detentions by federal authorities, but lawmakers apparently broke through that impasse Monday evening.
Now they will need the support of President Donald Trump, whose signature will be needed ahead of the deadline at midnight Friday.
If lawmakers don’t act, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed for a second time this year.
Congressional negotiators say politically freighted talks on border security are back on track as they speed to avert a new federal shutdown this weekend.
Officials say an agreement could be in sight as early as Monday night. The talks had cratered over the weekend because of Democratic demands to limit immigrant detentions by federal authorities, but that impasse seems to be loosening.
A Friday midnight deadline is looming as negotiators strain to prevent a second partial government shutdown, for which there is virtually no support from lawmakers of either party.
If bargainers don’t reach an agreement and get President Donald Trump’s signature by then, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed for a second time this year.
President Donald Trump is assailing Democrats over faltering border security negotiations.
Trump spoke to reporters Monday at the White House at an event attended by local sheriffs. He says construction on a border barrier is already underway, but he says of Democrats: “We’re up against people who want to allow criminals in our society.”
Border security negotiations stalled over the weekend over Democratic demands to limit the number of migrants whom federal authorities can detain. The two sides also remain separated over how much to spend on Trump’s border wall.
Republicans say Democratic demands to limit immigrant detentions are a deal breaker, eclipsing the border wall issue for now.
Trump is holding a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday night and says he’s going there “to keep our country safe.”
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