A bipartisan group of lawmakers tasked with trying to reach a deal by Friday to avoid another partial government shutdown said Monday night that an “agreement in principle” had been made.
“We reached an agreement in principle between us on all the homeland security and the other six bills,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), one of the top Republican negotiators, told reporters following a number of meetings Monday night as lawmakers worked to avoid the second shutdown of the year.
“The White House has been consulted all along,” Shelby said when asked if he thought President Donald Trump would be on board with the border security deal.
According to reports, the border security package contains $1.375 billion for border barriers on the southern border, no new cap on ICE beds for detentions, and an overall lower cap on detention beds from 49,057 to 40,520.
“Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain … “
Monday night’s deal comes only hours after lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle expressed deep concerns that Washington was headed for another shutdown after talks between the conference committee tanked over the weekend.
While negotiations looked good toward the end of last week, over the weekend, Republicans say Democrats threw a wrench into talks by insisting on a strict cap on detention beds for ICE.
“I do not understand why, at the 11th hour, when the negotiations were making progress, the House Democrats put a brand new demand on the table,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told IJR. “I thought they too wanted to avoid a shutdown but apparently that’s not the case.”
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), another member of the conference committee that was assembled to hash out a border security deal, also told IJR she was worried that Democrats’ last-minute demand could impact negotiations.
“Anything that comes up at the last minute is really disconcerting. We are trying to get over our difficulties,” the West Virginia senator told IJR.
“That doesn’t seem to me like it’s appropriate,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told IJR when asked about Democrat’s last-minute push. “Why would the Democrats want to reduce the number of beds and let criminals out on catch and release? That doesn’t make sense.”
Even some red-state Democrats expressed concern with their party’s effort to inject another wrinkle into the shutdown talks.
“That doesn’t sound like a wise thing to do. Sure doesn’t sound real wise,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told IJR when asked about Democrats pushing for bed caps. “I thought they were moving pretty well until I heard this weekend things came a little bit off the rails so we’ll see if they can get it back on.”
Now with a deal tentatively in place to keep the government funded through Friday’s deadline, it’s up to the president to agree to its terms — something his fiercest allies are already calling for him not to do.
“By the way, on this new so-called compromise,” FOX News host and avid Trump alley Sean Hannity said during his show Monday night. “I’m getting details. $1.3 billion? That’s not even a wall, a barrier … We will get back into this tomorrow. Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain — look at this crowd, look at the country.”
Trump himself, who held a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, told supporters on stage that he refused to hear about the deal ahead of his speech Monday night.
“They say that progress is being made. Just so you know. Just now just now,” Trump said during his speech. “I said wait a minute, I gotta take care of my people from Texas, I got to go, I don’t even want to hear about it, I don’t want to hear about it.”