After the government shut down for a record-long 35 days, lawmakers were tasked with meeting together and forming a bipartisan bill for border security.
President Trump kept the government closed and said he would not reopen the government without securing $5.7 billion for the construction of a new border wall. Although Trump seemed to cave to outside pressure and eventually reopened the government in order to pay federal workers—signing into law a bill which did not include border wall funding—the temporary bill only funded the government for 15 days. The president said lawmakers have 15 days to discuss and debate before he declares a national emergency and secures the funding himself—a move which will almost certainly be contested by the courts.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat lawmakers seem to be trying to schmooze over the president with a border funding bill which sounds enticing with “cutting edge technology,” the Washington Examiner reports, but does not include even $1 for the construction of a new border wall.
From the Washington Examiner:
“If you are asking if there is any money for a border wall, there is not,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., a top appropriator and member of the panel, said.
Roybal-Allard was among a bipartisan group of 17 House and Senate lawmakers who met for the first time Wednesday in an effort to strike a deal on border security and federal funding by a Feb. 15 deadline.
The leader of the group, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said she is not ruling out wall funding as the negotiations proceed but suggested Democrats for now will stick to their view that a border wall is unnecessary and that other enhancements, such as technology, would be more effective.
“We are open to everyone’s facts and figures but I can assure you we are going to be talking about facts,” Lowey said. “Everything is on the table.”
Instead of a wall, the bill would deploy “cutting edge technology along the border.” The plan would also pay for new CBP air and marine operations as well as enhancements to port security.
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Roybal-Allard, a critic of President Trump’s assessment that illegal immigration at the border is a crisis, said the plan House Democrats will bring to the negotiations will add funding to address “the only real crisis that is at the border which is not a border security crisis but a humanitarian one.”
The plan would reduce detention beds and enhance the ability of border agents to “meet the needs” of illegal immigrants they take into custody on the border. It would expand the Obama-era family case management program that connects illegal immigrants with legal help and housing in the United States, rather than keeping them in detention until a later court hearing.
Trump has spent considerable time on Twitter promoting the border wall, clarifying that Republicans are wasting their time negotiating with Democrat lawmakers who are against it.
“Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee are wasting their time. Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL. I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built, I don’t expect much help!