Tuesday April 23rd, 2019 2:29AM

Lawmakers reach deal on border wall funding

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional negotiators announced an agreement late Monday to prevent a government shutdown and finance construction of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, overcoming a late-stage hang-up over immigration enforcement issues that had threatened to scuttle the talks.

Republicans were desperate to avoid another bruising shutdown. They tentatively agreed to far less money for President Donald 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.

"We reached an agreement in principle," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., appearing with a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers who concurred.

"Our staffs are just working out the details," said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

Details won't be officially released until Tuesday, but the pact came in time to alleviate any threat of a second partial government shutdown this weekend.

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 in a fresh round of talks on Monday.

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."

Trump traveled to El Paso, Texas, for a campaign-style rally Monday night focused on immigration and border issues. He has been adamant that Congress approve money for a wall along the Mexican border, though he no longer repeats his 2016 mantra that Mexico will pay for it.

Democrats carried more leverage into the talks after besting Trump on the 35-day shutdown but showed flexibility in hopes on winning Trump's signature. After yielding on border barriers, Democrats focused on reducing funding for detention beds to curb what they see as unnecessarily harsh enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

The border debate got most of the attention, but it's just part of a major spending measure to fund a bevy of Cabinet departments. A collapse of the negotiations could imperil budget talks going forward that are required to prevent steep spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

The negotiations hit a rough patch Sunday amid a dispute over curbing ICE, the federal agency that Republicans see as an emblem of tough immigration policies and Democrats accuse of often going too far.

A House Democratic aide said Republicans had already agreed to funding cuts that would require ICE to ramp down the number of detention beds to a range of 34,000-38,500 by the end of the year. ICE currently detains about 49,000 immigrants on average per day.

But a proposal to cap at 16,500 the number of detainees caught in areas away from the border — a limit Democrats say is aimed at preventing overreach by the agency — ran into its own Republican wall.

"ICE is being asked to ignore the laws that Congress has already passed," said agency Deputy Director Matt Albence on a media call organized by the White House. "It will be extremely damaging to the public safety of this country. If we are forced to live within a cap based on interior arrests, we will immediately be forced to release criminal aliens that are currently sitting in our custody."

According to ICE figures, 66 percent of the nearly 159,000 immigrants it reported detaining last year were previously convicted of crimes. Reflecting the two administration's differing priorities, in 2016 under President Barack Obama, around 110,000 immigrants were detained and 86 percent had criminal records.

Few convictions that immigrants detained last year had on their records were for violent crimes. The most common were for driving while intoxicated, drugs, previous immigration convictions and traffic offenses.

Trump met Monday afternoon with top advisers in the Oval Office to discuss the negotiations. He softened his rhetoric on the wall but ratcheted it up when alluding to the detention beds issue.

"We can call it anything. We'll call it barriers, we'll call it whatever they want," Trump said. "But now it turns out not only don't they want to give us money for a wall, they don't want to give us the space to detain murderers, criminals, drug dealers, human smugglers."

The recent shutdown left more than 800,000 government workers without paychecks, forced postponement of the State of the Union address and sent Trump's poll numbers tumbling. As support in his own party began to splinter, Trump surrendered after the shutdown hit 35 days, agreeing to the current temporary reopening without getting money for the wall.

The president's supporters have suggested that Trump could use executive powers to divert money from the federal budget for wall construction, though he could face challenges in Congress or the courts.


Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
As budget deficit balloons, few in Washington seem to care
The federal budget deficit is ballooning on President Donald Trump's watch and few in Washington seem to care
9:22AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Shiffrin clinches record 15th World Cup victory this season
Mikaela Shiffrin won a women's World Cup slalom on Saturday for a record 15th victory of the season
8:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
How Facebook stands to profit from its 'privacy' push
Facebook stands to profit from its privacy push, including by expanding lucrative new commercial services, monopolizing users' attention and developing new ways of tracking people
8:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Netanyahu campaign draws accusations of incitement
Looking to galvanize his nationalistic base ahead of April elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has zoned in on Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi
6:41AM ( 3 hours ago )
Biden eyes fundraising challenge amid new sense of urgency
Biden eyes fundraising challenge amid new sense of urgency to decide 2020 plans
6:17AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Smollett attorney: Indictment is 'vindictive'
An attorney for Jussie Smollett says a 16-count indictment against the "Empire" actor is "vindictive" and Smollett "maintains his innocence."
6:04AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Judge extends authority to more families separated at border
A federal judge who ordered that more than 2,700 parents be reunited with their children has expanded his authority to potentially thousands more children who were separated at the border earlier during the Trump administration
11:39PM ( 10 hours ago )
Judge rules against NCAA in federal antitrust lawsuit
A judge has ruled against the NCAA in a federal antitrust lawsuit, saying football and basketball players should be permitted to receive more compensation from schools but only if the benefits are tied to education
10:56PM ( 10 hours ago )
International Women's Day: Strikes, protests and holidays
International Women's Day is being marked across the globe Friday under the slogan #BalanceforBetter, with calls for a more gender-balanced world
10:33PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Trump surveys devastation, pays respects to tornado victims
President Donald Trump has paid his respects to the 23 people who died after a powerful tornado roared through a rural Alabama town
7:24PM ( 14 hours ago )
Manafort case sparks conversation about sentence disparities
A judge's decision to sentence former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to less than four years in prison sparked widespread anger and opened up a conversation about whether the justice system treats different crimes and criminals fairly
7:22PM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Indictment details 16 counts against Smollett
A grand jury has indicted "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett of 16 counts related to allegations that he lied to police about an attack in January _ eight counts for what he told a police officer and eight more for what he told a detective.
6:39PM ( 15 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Republicans release transcript, push back on Trump probes
House Republicans release the transcript of an interview with a Justice Department official linked to the early days of the Russia investigation
8:46PM ( 13 hours ago )
Posts by Utah lawmaker in conversion therapy debate draw ire
Conservative Utah was getting closer to joining a nationwide effort to ban gay conversion therapy for minors, but it stalled after a Republican lawmaker made changes to the legislation
8:23PM ( 13 hours ago )
New Mexico governor enacts expanded gun background checks
New Mexico's Democratic governor has signed into law mandatory background checks on firearms sales to include transactions between private individuals.
7:34PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump says Michael Cohen lied about not requesting a pardon
President Donald Trump says his former lawyer Michael Cohen told a "stone cold lie" in claiming that he did not seek a pardon
5:25PM ( 16 hours ago )
California harassment investigations cost taxpayers $1.8M
AP Exclusive: California Legislature spent $1.8 million in 13 months on legal fees related to sexual harassment investigations
5:15PM ( 16 hours ago )
House OKs election, ethics overhaul; Senate to slam door
The Democratic-controlled House has approved legislation aimed at reducing the role of big money in politics, ensuring fair elections and strengthening ethics standards
4:59PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
US regulators clear path for genetically modified salmon
Genetically modified salmon have cleared another hurdle to be sold in the U.S., but could still face legal challenges
10:06PM ( 11 hours ago )
Computer to call balls and strikes in minor league
Computers will be used for ball/strike calls starting April 25 in the independent Atlantic League, where the distance between the mound and home plate will be increased by 2 feet to 62 feet, 6 inches for the second half of the season beginning July 12
7:59PM ( 13 hours ago )
FDA approves 1st immunotherapy drug to treat breast cancer
FDA approves 1st immunotherapy drug for treating breast cancer
6:26PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Business
Stocks fall as weak hiring adds to unease on global economy
U.S. stocks are marching broadly lower following a surprisingly weak jobs report and more signs that the global economy is hitting the brakes
3:12PM ( 18 hours ago )
US wages rise by most in decade even as hiring tumbles
US wages rise by most in decade in February even as hiring tumbles
2:07PM ( 19 hours ago )
New George Soros book will be a summation of core beliefs
George Soros' next book will be a summation of his core beliefs. PublicAffairs announced Friday that "In Defense of Open Society" will be published Sept. 24.
12:39PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
As budget deficit balloons, few in Washington seem to care
The federal budget deficit is ballooning on President Donald Trump's watch and few in Washington seem to care
9:20AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Shiffrin clinches record 15th World Cup victory this season
Mikaela Shiffrin won a women's World Cup slalom on Saturday for a record 15th victory of the season
8:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
How Facebook stands to profit from its 'privacy' push
Facebook stands to profit from its privacy push, including by expanding lucrative new commercial services, monopolizing users' attention and developing new ways of tracking people
8:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Finland's outgoing premier may bow out as party chair
Finland's outgoing prime minister, who abruptly tendered the resignation of his center-right government just weeks before the general election, says he won't seek to remain as chairman of his party next year if support continues to decline
8:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
Don't stop the music: Campaign songs tell candidates' story
The Democratic primary has only just begun, but presidential candidates already are relying on theme songs that embody their campaigns' spirits
8:18AM ( 1 hour ago )