Congress Reaches Tentative Deal to Avoid Shutdown

President Donald Trump ignores shouted questions from repoters as they are ushered out of the room as Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) looks on after the president spoke about his summit meeting in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the start of a meeting with members of the Congress at the White House, July 17, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Congressional negotiators reached a tentative agreement Monday evening to fund the government through September 30 while providing just $1.375 billion for the construction of additional barriers on the southern border, the Associated Press reported.

The agreement includes funding for 55 miles of new steel-slat fencing, a significant decrease from the 215 miles the White House demanded in December, prompting a record-long government shutdown that lasted 35 days.

Congress must finalize the legislation and secure Trump’s signature by February 15th to avoid another shutdown.

“With the government being shut down, the specter of another shutdown this close, what brought us back together I thought tonight was we didn’t want that to happen” again, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) told the AP.

Asked if President Trump would support the deal given the relative lack of border-wall funding, Shelby said he was hopeful.

“We believe from our dealings with them and the latitude they’ve given us, they will support it. We certainly hope so,” he said.

Negotiations were nearly derailed Sunday evening over a partisan impasse over funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds. Democrats, intent on limiting the agency’s ability to detain migrants for extend periods of time, proposed capping the number of detainees in ICE custody at any given time to 16,500.

Under the tentative deal reached Sunday night, the number of detainees will reportedly be limited to 40,520, a 17 percent reduction from the roughly 49,000 detainees in ICE custody as of February 10.

During a Monday night rally in El Paso, Texas, Trump once again signaled a willingness to unilaterally appropriate the $5.7 billion he’s demanded in border wall funding through a declaration of national emergency.

“Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway,” Trump said to cheers.

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