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New Budget Deal Reached, All Eyes Now on Trump

President of the United States Donald J. Trump at CPAC 2017 February 24th 2017 by Michael Vadon
President of the United States Donald J. Trump at CPAC 2017 February 24th 2017 (Photo by Michael Vadon)

Republicans and Democrats reached a deal Monday night while President Trump was at a campaign rally in Texas where he told attendees he didn’t even want to hear about the new deal.

Monday night Congressional negotiators from both the Republican and Democrat parties announced they had reached a bipartisan budget deal that does not include funding for a $5.7 billion border wall. There is a slight compromise with some funding earmarked for the border, but will it be enough to earn President Trump’s seal of approval?

The Budget Deal

Failure to pass a budget, largely due to a battle over funding for a border wall, resulted in a 35-day federal shutdown, the longest in history. The shutdown ended with a temporary spending bill which funded the government through this coming Friday. Another shutdown loomed if legislators could not reach a budget deal.

However, it seems legislators may have found a solution to avert another government shutdown. Following a closed-door meeting of bipartisan lawmakers tasked with hashing out a deal on the federal budget before the federal government runs out of money, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) announced such a deal had been reached Monday night.

Details of the deal have not been made public and will need to be approved in both congressional houses, but a Democratic congressional aide told the NY Daily News that the deal did not include the $5.7 billion that Trump has demanded for a border wall. The deal does earmark $1.37 billion for 55 miles of “bollard fencing” and reduce the number of detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by 17.4 percent, from 49,057 to 40,520.

Democrats sought a decrease in beds at the disposal of ICE arguing a reduction in beds would ensure ICE focused on criminals and security threats rather than “law-abiding immigrants who are contributing to our country,” as Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) said on Sunday.

Democrats initially only wanted ICE to have the capacity to hold 16,500 detainees per day but they dropped the demand in response to Republican opposition.

According to the NY Daily News, the “fencing bollards” closely resemble the steel slats Trump has hyped in recent weeks, but the bollards are nothing new.

The unnamed congressional aide told the NY Daily News, “These are the same type of barriers that were built before Trump took office.” But another aide told the Daily News that the funding will bankroll twice the amount of border barriers built last year.

“All of the miles will be in the Rio Grande Valley sector — Border Patrol’s highest priorities on its strategic plan,” the aide said.

Trump’s Response to New Budget Deal

Meanwhile, Trump was in El Paso, Texas Monday night where he held a rally, but seemed negative about the new budget deal.

“I don’t even want to hear about it,” Trump said at the rally. “I don’t want to hear about it. So I don’t know what they mean, ‘progress is being made.’”

“We are setting the stage,” he said. “We are setting the table. We are doing whatever we have to do. The wall is being built.”

Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency if he does not receive his $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall, a declaration that would be challenged in courts.

But with Republicans and Democrats agreeing and showing bipartisan support for the new deal, all pressure will fall on Trump and any government shutdown will be blamed squarely on Trump’s shoulders.

The previous government shutdown became a PR disaster for Trump, as stories of federal employees struggling to make ends meet and the toll the shutdown took on safety in the airline industry became national stories. However, not building the border wall Trump made such a central part of his campaign will also be a difficult road for Trump to navigate.

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Lauren von Bernuth

Lauren is one of the co-founders of Citizen Truth. She graduated with a degree in Political Economy from Tulane University. She spent the following years backpacking around the world and starting a green business in the health and wellness industry. She found her way back to politics and discovered a passion for journalism dedicated to finding the truth.

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