When Trump agreed to a short-term spending deal to re-open the government in January, it was on the condition that Congress work out a bipartisan agreement on border security funding, which would include some funding for the construction of physical barriers … a border wall, if you will. He also gave them a deadline: February 15th.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she will support any agreement the bipartisan negotiations ultimately produce provided President Donald Trump doesn’t interfere with the negotiations and also approves of the final agreement. Speaking to reporters, Pelosi said, “If left to their own devices, if they have a bipartisan agreement, I will support it.”
She added that she had relayed that same assurance to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), one of the top Republicans in the bipartisan negotiating group.
Separately, Shelby told reporters that he thought an agreement would be produced by Monday and would be ready for a vote by the middle of the week. “Time’s fleeting, and time’s ticking,” he said, in reference to the fast-approaching deadline.
Trip to the border
The negotiators recently met with border officials to hear their security requests. While there was no clear agreement following that meeting, the general consensus was that the ultimate solution would most likely include a mixture of physical barriers, improved technology and more manpower at the border.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), who is part of the negotiations, recently took several of her colleagues from the conference committee down to the border to survey the situation for themselves.
She said her group “came back and said, ‘If we’re going to do it right, it has to be some kind of physical barrier,’” and hinted that the widely accepted bollard-style steel slat fencing was the most likely example of what would be approved in a final deal.
“The priority is a physical barrier, a change in the system and enough people that our professional security can do their jobs,” she said.
According to a Politico report, Pelosi “remains firm that there won’t be new money for Trump’s wall.” But Democrats in the negotiations seem more open to compromise.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) told reporters Friday that including $1.6 billion to $2 billion in funds for walls or fencing “possibly could be workable,” Politico reported.
“We’re working the best we can to find that middle ground,” she said. “That’s what we’re going to send over to the president and hopefully he’ll accept it and be able to put this aside.
Whether Pelosi will actually sign on in support of a deal that includes any wall funding remains to be seen, but for now, she has signaled her openness to such an agreement.