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Offbeat‘A big problem’: Congress bickers over what makes a border wall

17:30  06 december  2018
17:30  06 december  2018 Source:   politico.com

Congress approves short-term spending bill to avert government shutdown

Congress approves short-term spending bill to avert government shutdown Congress approves short-term spending bill to avert government shutdown

These prototypes make clear that a border wall is not simple: It can vary considerably in material, shape and cost. But they allowed us to visit the prototypes, and we asked border security experts and engineers what they saw in each design and what challenges each wall may face.

The biggest problem with Donald Trump's border wall is that it was never about border security. Ruben Gallego: Why we should not build Trump's border wall . The biggest problem with Donald The Rio Grande River makes its way through Big Bend National Park, separating Mexico (left) and

‘A big problem’: Congress bickers over what makes a border wall© Chris Wattie U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are seen at the San Ysidro border in San Diego, California, on November 29, 2018. Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on the definition of a border wall — let alone the project itself — and the rift could lead to a partial government shutdown later this month.

Senators came to a bipartisan agreement this summer to provide $1.6 billion for 65 miles of a beefed-up barrier along the Southwest border. While not enough for President Donald Trump, the deal marked a breakthrough on an otherwise intractable fight over the president’s chief campaign promise.

Poll: Americans want lame-duck Congress to focus on border security, health care

Poll: Americans want lame-duck Congress to focus on border security, health care A new poll released Wednesday by Hill.TV finds that a plurality of Americans want the GOP Congress to focus its waning days on border security and health care reform. Twenty-six percent of voters said they want legislators to prioritize border security in response to a question from the American Barometer poll on what they want from the lame-duck Congress. Eighteen percent said they want the government to focus on improving health care. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Trump has made building a wall along the border with Mexico a centerpiece of his campaign. It won't be easy. He'd have to go through Washington first. That was a project that has been beset with setbacks, lack of congressional interest and funding problems .

Even with the midterm elections looming, Republican leaders in Congress made clear this week they're paying close attention to a looming battle over President Donald Trump's promised border wall .

But now the two parties can’t even agree on whether the $1.6 billion is for Trump’s wall or not. The legislation seems to purposefully avoid addressing Trump’s vision of a massive concrete border wall, instead using the word “fencing” and limiting repairs to “currently deployed fencing design along the southern border.”

That has led Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to argue that the bill gives Trump zero dollars for the “wall” and instead provides for “border security,” even as some progressives urge the Senate to abandon the deal. In the face of Schumer’s stance, Republicans are defending the $1.6 billion pact as giving the president exactly what he’s requesting, worried that may be all that can get through the Senate and that anything more would lead to a shutdown just days before Christmas.

Trump now says border wall could cost as little as $15 billion, pay for itself

Trump now says border wall could cost as little as $15 billion, pay for itself The price tag could be even less, the president said in comments that came as Congress negotiates over a year-end spending bill.

US Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks out over Tijuana, Mexico, along the old border wall at the It could have been the spy towers made by the Israeli company Elbit Systems that spotted him, or Predator B drones built by If such a package passes the next Congress , up to billion could be

President Donald Trump’s border wall is constantly in the headlines. What are some of the facts and figures behind it? One of President Trump’s biggest campaign promises was his vow to build a wall along the country’s southernmost border .

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who wrote the border funding bill with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in June, said it is “not accurate” for Schumer and Senate Democrats to claim it stiffs Trump on his beloved wall.

“It’s for a wall system. It is a lot of wall, but it is also a part of a system. And then we have additional add-ons in the bill that have more manpower and more technology,” Capito said, referring to millions more for additional border security.

The disagreement over what the bill actually does, she added, is “a problem. It’s a big problem.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) rejected Capito’s characterization of the bill: “I don’t think any of it goes towards a ‘wall.’”

"The money is going towards border security in general, and, frankly, the White House has already gotten money ... that they still haven't spent,” Duckworth said. “The president said Mexico is going to pay for a wall, so he should find money for that first. But as far as border security? I think everyone in the Senate supports more security.”

Trump, GOP leaders meet on border wall as shutdown looms

Trump, GOP leaders meet on border wall as shutdown looms With a partial government shutdown looming in just 10 days, President Donald Trump is meeting with Republican leaders to hash out a spending plan that includes funding for Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico. Trump is seeking $5 billion for the wall. He has said it could be a "good time" for a shutdown if he doesn't receive the funding he wants for the wall, a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign. House Republicans approved $5 billion for the wall in a key committee, but a bipartisan bill in the Senate allocates just $1.6 billion for the border.

Its a big border . So the wall will be useful… to help move drugs on new roads in the middle of A wall is simply an obstacle that I can go over , go through, or go under. If I have millions of dollars and Again, the problem is the US government - and they addicted the poor minorities to the drugs

Funds for a border wall . No political promise came to symbolize Mr. Trump’s candidacy like his pledge to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. But for now, Mr. Trump gets to say he is making good on a political promise. And if Congress scuttles the plan later or lawsuits hold it up?

That may be true in principle, but the word “wall” has become a lightning rod for both political parties as they prepare for a funding fight that must be resolved by Dec. 21. Some conservative Republicans want as much as $25 billion for the border wall alone, while progressive activists have cast the $1.6 billion as intended “to terrorize immigrant communities.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Senate needs to figure out a way to please everyone and fast: “The government can’t close,” she implored her colleagues in an interview, predicting Congress will compromise on an amount greater than $1.6 billion for border barriers. Whether people will call it a wall or not is another question entirely.

“It depends on how you define border security. And part of it clearly is for the wall,” she said. “Maybe we can reach an agreement where everyone can call it what they want.”

It’s “optics,” agreed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “There's no such thing as a wall. From a safety standpoint there's … high fencing, so I don't know. I think it's just semantics right now, just get over it.”

Schumer floats stopgap spending bill amid border wall fight

Schumer floats stopgap spending bill amid border wall fight Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said that Congress should pass a stopgap spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security if President Trump won't agree to $1.6 billion for border security. Schumer said that Trump had "two good bipartisan options" to avoid a shutdown - the Senate's DHS bill or a continuing resolution - both of which, he predicted, would get more than the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate . require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

The problem is that polls show the border wall is not all that popular, particularly if the United States is paying for it, and it does not unify congressional Republicans in the way Several sources said it is unclear whether Trump wants to take the fight to Democrats over the wall or avoid a shutdown battle.

Congress has not agreed to Trump’s requests to budget .6 billion to start building a new wall across the entire border — and there’s definitely no Meanwhile, the contracting process has also attracted some hoping to make a political statement. Ted Levinson, a social enterprise investor who lives in

Yet what seems like inside baseball is actually the whole ballgame to the president, who balked at signing a spending bill in March because it fell far short of his spending ambitions for the wall. He’s dug in even more this time.

“Top Border Security, including a Wall, is $25 Billion. Pays for itself in two months. Get it done!” he tweeted this week.

And Trump himself appears to be playing close attention to the debate. He’s spoken several times with Republican leaders about the matter and seems dead set on finally getting this win.

Schumer sees it another way, accusing Trump of “trying to manufacture a shutdown to fire up his base.” He and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are expected to meet with the president next week, in part to discuss how to fund the government.

In an interview with POLITICO last week, Trump said he wants $5 billion for the border wall alone and additional money for border security, a sign that the president is being kept apprised of the details during the back and forth between lawmakers.

The president is fixated on winning the border wall fight, putting other priorities on the back burner and raising the stakes for both parties. Senate Democrats say $1.6 billion was hard enough to get through the Senate Appropriations Committee; that it matches the initial White House request; and that it provides more than the $1.3 billion the president received for a border barrier last year.

Trump keeps up pressure on Dems over border wall

Trump keeps up pressure on Dems over border wall President Donald Trump is keeping the pressure on Democrats over funding for a border wall.

First things first: It would require a big lift from Congress . The wall is strongest along parts of the border that have large populations on both sides, such as San Diego and Tijuana. Can Trump finish the wall himself? It's possible that Trump could kick-start some construction on his own.

It’s also a big mistake. Not only would a wall be outrageously expensive — estimates range as high The biggest immigration crisis facing the country has nothing to do with Mexicans illegally crossing Over the past two decades, I have served in senior homeland security positions in both the George W

“We did a deal six months ago on $1.6 billion, which is what the president asked for. That was before the election, it’s done. If the president says ‘No, we’re going to shut the government down for five [billion dollars],’ I think that’s unfair,” Tester said. “If he reneges on it, I think it’s bad, bad, bad.”

A news release accompanying the bill in June from the Appropriations Committee boasted that it "fully funds" Trump's fiscal 2019 request for the border wall system.

That measure would almost certainly pass the Senate, though House Republicans are still in the majority and have pushed for $5 billion for the wall. They might need Democratic votes to pass anything, leading to a stalemate that’s dragged on for a month since the election.

And if Trump doesn’t get $5 billion for a concrete border wall, there’s no guarantee he would sign whatever Congress passes, though some lawmakers are bullish they can write the legislation to satisfy everyone.

“It’s just a matter of what you call it,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) of the border security funding.

House Democrats, meanwhile, are looking to give Trump a goose egg for Christmas on his chief legislative priority. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said the caucus is willing to talk about a compromise on cracking down on drug dealers or human traffickers “but not on the fence or the wall.”

That’s left Republicans in a difficult place. Trump has told Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) directly that he wants three times the funding that Shelby’s committee approved.

Regardless, there’s no way the GOP will concede that the bipartisan bill doesn’t meet the president’s definition of a wall.

“I thought it was for the wall. My understanding is it’s for the wall,” Shelby said. He added with a grin: “Maybe other people’s understanding is it’s border security.”

Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

House GOP may try vote on $5B for Trump border wall.
House Republican leaders are contemplating bringing legislation to the floor that would provide the $5 billion.

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