Trump's wall may be different than advertised

Larry Hoffman
January 1, 2019

Democrats on Monday unveiled legislation created to re-open the federal government, without providing money for Donald Trump's border wall. None will receive another paycheck until Trump has signed a bill resuming funding. A previous deal that addressed the status of Dreamers failed to pass as a result of escalating White House demands.

Trump does not want to settle for less than $5 billion in funding for the border wall.

In response, Trump tweeted, "An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media". Democrats refuse to approve funding and the president - who has made hardline immigration policies a centrepiece of his presidency - has retaliated by refusing to sign off on a wider spending bill, leaving some 800,000 federal employees without pay. At the time, Trump proposed a sweeping amnesty for children brought into the USA illegally and their relatives in return for wall funding and immigration reforms.

Sen. Lindsey Graham had lunch Sunday with Trump and calls the wall "a metaphor for border security".

"(The) President didn't commit but I think he's very open minded", Graham said, adding that Trump's first response to the plan was describing it as "interesting".

The proposal includes $1.3 billion for border security, but not the $5 billion President Donald Trump has demanded for a border wall. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said Mexico would pay for the wall.

The government has been partially shut down since Congress was unable to reach a funding deal on December 21st.

As the dispute dragged on over the holiday break, Trump renewed claims that the wall was necessary to keep out undocumented migrants and criminal gangs, and has tried to lay the blame for the shutdown on Democrats.

A senior Democratic aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Senate Democrats support the House legislative plan and that Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has been in constant contact with Pelosi about it. Such a bill passed the Senate on a voice vote earlier this month before being scuttled in the House by outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan and objections from Trump.

As for Trump's promise to wall off the southern border, Kelly quibbled about terminology - "To be honest, it's not a wall" - but insisted a physical barrier is the recommendation of "salt-of-the-earth, Joe-Six-Pack" border patrol agents.

"It would be the height of irresponsibility and political cynicism for Senate Republicans to now reject the same legislation they have already supported", the leaders said.

"Schumer made clear to the Vice President, in private after their Saturday meeting, that the offer would not pass the Senate, and told the Vice President that we would not consider any offer the President has not publicly endorsed, given that the President has changed his position so many times", spokesman Justin Goodman said in a statement.

Mr Trump's signature campaign pledge to build a wall along the US-Mexico border is now at the centre of a budgetary standoff. But a previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of "Dreamers" - young immigrants brought to the USA as children - broke down a year ago as a result of escalating White House demands. Gates are closed at some national parks, the government won't issue new federal flood insurance policies and in NY, the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts suspended work on civil cases involving US government lawyers, including several civil lawsuits in which Trump himself is a defendant.

He added, "The president still says "wall" - oftentimes frankly he'll say "barrier" or 'fencing, ' now he's tended toward steel slats".

- Among the departments without funding are: Justice, Homeland Security, Interior and Treasury.

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