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BANGKOK 19 February 2019 01:04
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U.S. lawmakers meet on border security, scrambling to avert shutdown

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U.S. lawmakers meet on border security, scrambling to avert shutdown

By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell

 

2019-02-11T162514Z_2_LYNXNPEF1A17M_RTROPTP_4_USA-SHUTDOWN.JPG

A U.S. Capitol police officer patrols the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 6, 2019. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top four Democratic and Republican congressional negotiators on border security funding resumed talks on Monday, with the possibility of another partial U.S. government shutdown looming if they fail to reach a deal by a Friday deadline.

 

The talks, which had broken down over the weekend, restarted in the U.S. Capitol just hours before a scheduled rally in the Texas border city of El Paso, where President Donald Trump will promote his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a proposal opposed by Democrats.

 

An anti-wall protest will greet the Republican president, led by hometown Democrat Beto O'Rourke, the former congressman who is considering running for his party's 2020 presidential nomination after gaining national prominence last year by nearly upsetting Republican Ted Cruz in a U.S. Senate race in Texas.

 

In Washington, the lawmakers hope to reach an agreement on Monday to allow time for the legislation to pass the House of Representatives and Senate and get Trump's signature by Friday, when funding is due to expire for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and several other federal agencies.

 

Trump, who in December said he would be "proud" to shut the federal government over border security, took a different tack on Monday. "It's up to the Democrats," Trump told reporters at the White House when asked whether the government was headed toward its second shutdown of the winter.

 

The talks stumbled over the weekend over funding for physical barriers along the border and a Democratic proposal to reduce allotted spaces in immigration detention facilities for people facing deportation.

 

Democrats oppose the Trump administration expanding its capacity to hold more people arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for eventual deportation.

 

The White House and the top Republican in Congress on Monday blasted the Democratic plan, which calls for lowering an existing cap on beds at the detention facilities to 35,520 from the current 40,520 in return for giving Republicans some of the money they want for physical border barriers.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the proposal a "poison pill" introduced into the talks by the Democrats, saying it would result in the release of thousands of illegal immigrants.

 

'CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC'

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat who heads the House-Senate negotiating committee, expressed hope for a deal as she headed into the meeting.

 

The House Appropriations Committee's top Republican, Kay Granger, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican, and that panel's top Democrat, Patrick Leahy, attended the talks, which lasted a little over an hour.

 

Granger said some progress was made and the four would meet again later in the evening. "We had a good discussion. It’s like all negotiations go. We put out what we want, what they want, we didn’t finish, we will be meeting again today," she said.

 

Trump's December demand for $5.7 billion to help construct a border wall triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month without him getting wall funding. Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow congressional negotiators time to find a compromise on government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, to avert another shutdown on Feb. 15.

 

Trump made a border wall one of his central 2016 campaign promises, saying it is needed to curb illegal immigration, drug trafficking and other crimes. Democrats, who assumed control of the House last month from Trump's fellow Republicans, have called a wall ineffective, expensive and immoral.

 

Democrats generally push for less use of detention, arguing it is much cheaper to release some immigrants but require restrictions on them such as wearing ankle bracelets that track their location. Republicans want to increase the number of beds in detention facilities to enable holding more people to speed up and expand deportations.

 

Trump, who has sought to crack down on illegal and legal immigration and has called the situation at the border a national security crisis, deployed 3,750 more U.S. troops there this month.

 

Rebuking Trump, California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, said he would pull hundreds of the state's National Guard troops from the border.

 

"The border 'emergency' is nothing more than a manufactured crisis - and CA's National Guard will not be part of this political theatre," Newsom wrote on Twitter.

 

New Mexico's Democratic governor made a similar move last week.

 

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Steve Holland; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Will Dunham and Dan Grebler)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-02-12

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U.S. lawmakers reach tentative deal to avoid government shutdown

By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. congressional negotiators said on Monday they reached a tentative deal on border security funding to avert another partial government shutdown due to start on Saturday, but an aide said it did not include the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump wants for a border wall.

 

"We reached an agreement in principle" on funding border security programs through Sept. 30, Republican Senator Richard Shelby told reporters.

 

"Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together,” Shelby said. He did not say whether Trump would get any money for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

 

It was not clear if Trump would embrace the agreement. His December demand for $5.7 billion to help pay for the wall - rejected by congressional Democrats - triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month without him getting wall funding.

 

A congressional aide, who asked not to be identified, said the outline of the deal included $1.37 billion for erecting new fencing along the southern border. That is about the same amount Congress allocated over the past couple years and far below what Trump has demanded.

 

The aide said none of the money would be for a "wall," which Trump has been touting since he launched his campaign for president in 2016. Democrats say the wall would be costly and ineffective.

 

Trump was holding a rally in the border city of El Paso, Texas, on Monday night to argue for the wall he says can protect Americans from violent criminals, drugs and a "tremendous onslaught" of migrant caravans.

 

Trump said he heard about the progress in the talks just before he took the stage in El Paso, but he did not discuss details. "Just so you know - we're building the wall anyway," he said. "Maybe progress has been made - maybe not."

 

DETENTION BEDS

Under Monday's agreement, which must be fleshed out by congressional staff experts, Democrats would gave up on a demand they floated on Friday night to cap the number of immigrant detention beds in the interior of the United States.

 

Democrats had complained that the Trump administration was increasing detention capacity as a way of speeding up deportations of illegal immigrants, some of whom were seeking asylum under U.S. law.

 

But an overall cap - on borders and in the interior - would remain at 40,520 beds. The aide said that despite that cap, the number had actually grown to 49,057 and that under the deal, it would be brought down to the legal cap.

 

Democratic Representative Nita Lowey said on Monday night: "I hope by Wednesday we'll have a finished product." Lowey said she had been in touch with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who she said "has confidence I have made the right decision."

 

Trump agreed to reopen the government last month for three weeks to allow congressional negotiators time to find a compromise on government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, to avert another shutdown.

 

In Washington, the small group of lawmakers leading the negotiations met for about two hours on Monday. They said they wanted to seal a plan by Monday night to allow time for the legislation to pass the House and Senate and get Trump's signature by Friday, when funding is due to expire for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and several other federal agencies.

 

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Steve Holland in Washington and Roberta Rampton in El Paso, Texas; Editing by Will Dunham and Peter Cooney)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-02-12

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Here we go again...

 

Anyone surprised, so predictable I bet the US stock markets do not even flinch when the US partially shuts down again???

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7 hours ago, Bluespunk said:

No you're not...

Well  he /they might. But just not pay the contractors. Who needs 5.7 billion ? wink wink.

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If there was another shutdown the whole lot from both parties should be fired, and some other more mature adults put into the Whitehouse to form a government for the people, instead of their own egos, and selves.

Geezer

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I am sure that US has many millions of dollars to waste.

While you are wasting on a wall, maybe you cannot afford to waste on another invasion somewhere. 

(That, on the stats you will lose anyway)

Go the wall. Make America broke again.

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