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12 Feb, 2019 22:04

'Bad' border deal welcomed by 'Swamp', but Trump seems unconcerned

'Bad' border deal welcomed by 'Swamp', but Trump seems unconcerned

Democrats and Republicans may have reached a deal to avoid another shutdown, but it has come under criticism from both sides of the aisle. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump appeared strangely confident about building his wall.

While the details of the compromise hammered out by the House and Senate conference committee have not been made public, some bits leaked to the media by congressional staff indicate it allocates only $1.375 billion for border barrier – far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had asked for – and cuts funding for immigration detention centers.

Also on rt.com Congress reaches last-minute deal to avoid another government shutdown… ‘in principle’

Democrat and Republican establishment favored the deal, not surprisingly. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) urged Trump to sign the bill and spare the country of “another nightmare” shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also urged Trump to go along, calling it a “step in the right direction” even if “not everything the president hoped to get.”

The president’s supporters in the congressional Freedom Caucus were unhappy, however, calling it a bad deal and urging Trump to take executive action.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday at the White House, Trump said he was “extremely unhappy” with the deal, adding that it was “not doing the trick” – but that another shutdown was unlikely.

Am I happy? The answer is no. But am I happy where we’re going? Absolutely.

Without going into details, Trump suggested that his administration was already doing some work on the border barrier, repurposing funds from elsewhere.

“We’re going to build a big, beautiful strong wall,” he said. “I never kid about construction. I love construction, and I know how to do it for the right price.”

Reporters on the ground in El Paso, Texas – where Trump held a big campaign-style rally on Monday evening – posted photos of construction crews erecting a barrier made of steel slats.

News of the congressional compromise has elicited a range of reactions among Trump supporters and critics alike. Columnist Ann Coulter tweeted that Trump seems afraid to fight for the wall, and called the reported bargain his “Yellow New Deal,” a pun on the Green New Deal, a recent Democrat fantasy policy proposal.

The author of that proposal, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) was unhappy about additional funding being given to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency she has campaigned on abolishing.

Cartoonist Scott Adams was more forgiving, pointing out that the Democrats on the panel rejected the recommendations made by experts from the Customs and Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security, who have repeatedly said a physical barrier is needed in multiple locations.

Journalist Jack Posobiec had another proposal: sell off the confiscated assets of Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman – found guilty by an American jury on Tuesday – and fund the wall, thereby fulfilling the “Mexico will pay for it” promise from Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Other Trump supporters have repeatedly urged the president to invoke national emergency powers to redirect funding towards wall construction. While he chose not to do so during the shutdown, on Monday Trump said he wouldn’t rule it out. His campaign actually polled supporters on the question last week.

The longest-ever government shutdown, which lasted 35 days, began when Senate Democrats rejected a bill passed by the Republican-majority House in December, giving Trump $5.7 billion for the wall. Some 800,000 federal workers were either sent home or mandated to work without pay. When Democrats took over the House on January 3, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) vowed she would not approve a single penny for the wall, calling it “immoral.”

On January 25, Trump accepted the proposal by Democrats and Republicans to temporarily reopen the government until a committee could come up with a compromise acceptable to both sides.

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