Border Security Funding Talks Stalled, Government Shutdown Looms

by Garry Watts February 11, 2019, 0:56
Border Security Funding Talks Stalled, Government Shutdown Looms

Last month he said the talks were a "waste of time".

The sticking point is over the number and objective of immigration detention beds, an issue that would typically be regarded as a side-note to the broader talks about the amount of funding for border security.

"The talks are stalled right now", Republican Senator Richard Shelby told "Fox News Sunday".

"You can not take a shutdown off the table, and you can not take US $5.7 (S$7.7 billion) off the table", he said, referring to the level of funds Trump has been demanding for a wall on the US-Mexican border.

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are still at loggerheads over Trump's $5.7 billion wall funding proposal. Republicans have said violent criminals caught inside the US shouldn't count toward the cap, and that ICE should have discretion about whom to detain. In addition, Democrats are pushing to reduce the number of apprehended migrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency.

The White House and many Republicans want to push the amount that would be spent for building physical barriers to $US2 billion ($A2.8 billion) or higher.

"We need the time to make sure that what we're agreeing to is what we really need", Texas Rep. Kay Granger, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee and member of the negotiation team, stated to Roll Call.

"The thing that strikes me about it, is just the sheer effort that went into this", Cliff Sims, the former director of Trump's White House message strategy, told CNN host Brian Stelter.

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Wallace asked again how close they are to finding the leaker, and Mulvaney said they are "hoping to have resolution on that this week". "Any kind of artificial cap on internal enforcement as it relates to criminals is a non-starter".

Media captionOther presidents got money for a border barrier - why not Trump?

Trump seized on the stall in a pair of tweets on Sunday, saying Democrats were "offering very little money" for the wall and claiming Democrats actually wanted a shutdown for political purposes.

Then he suggested, that Democrats "want a Shutdown" to change the subject after "a very bad week for the Democrats". Now, with the awful offers being made by them to the Border Committee, I actually believe they want a Shutdown. "We don't want a cap on that", Shelby said.

Democratic negotiators were hoping to cap the number of beds at 16,500. Democrats have proposed reducing the current number of beds ICE uses to detain immigrants here illegally from 40,520 to 35,520.

"We are looking to see if the president is working in the national interest", Schiff said. "But it's going to have to include funding that will allow us to secure the border, and it will have to include funding for some sort of a barrier".

In appearances on NBC's Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said "you absolutely cannot" eliminate the possibility of another shutdown on Friday if a deal is not reached over the wall.

"You can not take a shutdown off the table, and you can not take $5.7 (billion) off the table", Mulvaney told NBC. "I would say no", Mulvaney said.

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