Negotiators Strike Deal on Border to Avoid Shutdown

Measure has $1.4B for fences, not $5.7B for president's proposed wall
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2019 12:27 AM CST
Updated Feb 12, 2019 6:21 AM CST
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, pauses for reporters as he and other senior bipartisan House and Senate negotiators try to strike a border security compromise...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – Congressional negotiators announced an agreement late Monday to prevent a government shutdown and finance construction of new barriers along the US-Mexico border, the AP reports. Negotiators tentatively agreed to far less money for President Trump's border wall than the White House's $5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of about $1.4 billion, according to a senior congressional aide. (The Washington Post uses the term "fences" to describe what would go up.) "We reached an agreement in principle," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, appearing with a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers who concurred. Details won't be released until Tuesday, but the pact appears to arrive in time to alleviate any threat of a second government shutdown this weekend.

"With the government being shut down, the specter of another shutdown this close, what brought us back together I thought tonight was we didn't want that to happen" again, said Shelby. The pact also includes increases for new technologies such as advanced screening at border entry points, humanitarian aid sought by Democrats, and additional customs officers. Shelby had earlier pulled the plug on the talks over Democratic demands to limit immigrant detentions by federal authorities, but Democrats yielded ground on that issue. Asked if Trump would back the deal, Shelby said, "We believe from our dealings with them and the latitude they've given us, they will support it. We certainly hope so."

(Read more government shutdown stories.)

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