Democrats and Republicans Have Reached a Budget Deal — But Will Trump Like It?
Nearly two weeks after the longest government shutdown in US history, Democrat and Republican negotiators from Congress have reached a tentative budget deal. The most pressing question — will President Trump sign off on the deal? — continues to loom large.
The agreement comes just ahead of the February 15 deadline issued by Trump when he temporarily re-opened the federal government on January 25. POLITICO reports that the bipartisan budgetary compromise “in principle” covers broad government spending and includes a budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which took priority during budget negotiations.
The Democrats agreed to give the president more than a billion dollars for new physical barriers for the southern border, a far cry from the nearly $6 billion the president has demanded. Still, Democratic leaders had previously stated that the party would not agree to any new funding for a “border wall.” The $1.375 billion in funding agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans will be enough to build 55 additional miles of “new barrier” on the border.
In addition to a compromise on funding for new structures at the US-Mexico border, the Democrats also dropped their demand that the number of possible detainees in ICE detention centers be capped at 16,500, and instead agreed to provide funding for 40,520. This figure is a 17 percent decrease from the current funding, as opposed to the funding for 52,000 detainees that the president previously asked for, the Associated Press reports.
Beyond funding ICE detention centers and a new 55-mile stretch of barriers at the border, the drafted budget deal includes funding for additional surveillance technology for border checkpoints (a popular policy among Democrats in Congress) and some money for humanitarian aid. Many specific details of the budget are still yet to be worked out, and may not be announced until Wednesday, according to POLITICO. Still, the whole deal could be for nothing if the president doesn’t agree to it.
While negotiators were wrapping up the basics of the new budget plan, Trump was leading chants about the wall at an El Paso campaign rally. To mark his official campaign for 2020, Trump unveiled a new rally chant and slogan: “Finish the wall,” a twist on his infamous cry to “Build the wall.”
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters at the White House that he’s “not happy” with the deal Congressional negotiators are offering, and reiterated that “the wall’s getting built,” according to the AP. Trump also said that “everything is on the table” in terms of getting his demands met, but that he does not think there will be another government shutdown. Democrats and Republicans in Congress remain adamant that they want to avoid another shutdown, and Democrats continue to insist that they will not provide $5.7 billion for a border wall.
With the final deadline for a deal between Democrats and Republicans and between Congress and the White House set for Friday, the president has a few options. He can once again shut the government down until Democrats agree to give him $5.7 billion for a border wall, or follow through with his many threats to declare a national emergency in order to circumvent Congress, or — just maybe — he can simply take the deal on the table.
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