House Democrats to propose plan to end government shutdown, extend battle over border money

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WASHINGTON – House Democrats are expected to propose a plan Monday to end the government shutdown and give President Donald Trump and Congress more time to negotiate a deal over border funding, a senior Democratic aide told USA TODAY.

The plan would include full-year funding for shuttered departments except for the Department of Homeland Security, said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that have not yet been made public.

The proposal would include temporary funding for DHS through Feb. 8.

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security sits at the center of the ongoing impasse between the White House and congressional Democrats that has led to a partial government shutdown, now in its second week. Trump has sought additional money for a border wall, and Democrats have balked at the idea.

Trump hunkered down in the White House on New Year’s Eve, blaming Democrats for the budget impasse that centers on his demands that a bill to keep government agencies funded also include money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s unclear whether the White House would accept the House Democratic proposal, which was first reported by The Washington Post.

“Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for Border Security, including the Wall,” Trump tweeted on Monday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Democratic proposal.

Congressional Democrats said they will not support the wall, which they say is wasteful and unnecessary.

No meetings are scheduled between the two sides.

“Our negotiations are at an impasse at the moment,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, speaking on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “I wish it were not so. But we’ve got to move away from the blame game.”

Trump, meanwhile, pushed back on comments from former chief of staff John Kelly that the administration long ago abandoned plans for an all concrete wall on the Mexican border, saying some parts will be steel slat fencing.

“Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides),” Trump tweeted. “Makes sense to me!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media. Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!

Trump has refused to sign any kind of spending bill that does not include more than $5 billion for the wall and border security measures. The last spending bill expired at midnight Dec. 21, starting the latest shutdown of certain government agencies.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who had lunch with Trump on Sunday at the White House, pushed an idea that he said could be the basis for a compromise. He suggested that Democrats sign off on $5 billion for “border security-slash-wall” in exchange for agreement by Republicans to help young immigrants known as “Dreamers” who were brought to the country illegally by their parents.

“I don’t see Democrats giving us more money, unless they get something,” Graham  told reporters at the White House.

He added that Trump seemed “open-minded” about such a deal, but did not commit to it.

In a series of tweets over the weekend, Trump maintained his demand for a border wall, calling it essential for border security.

Democrats call the wall a waste of time and money, and said personnel and technology were better ways to address border security. They have highlighted Trump’s statement earlier this month that he would be more than willing to shut down the government over a border wall.

 

 

Source – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/31/donald-trump-democrats-deadlocked-government-shutdown-2019-approaches/2446050002/

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