Week 5: House Dems float '21st century' border security plan
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are putting forward a new proposal to end the government shutdown, aiming to lure President Donald Trump away from his demand for a border wall by offering billions of new dollars for other border-security measures.
The offer is a possible path toward a compromise even though it does not have money for his wall.
The Democratic proposal is expected to go beyond the $1.6 billion the White House initially requested from Congress for border security, before Trump demanded $5.7 billion for his long-promised wall. The proposal is still being drafted.
The White House signaled earlier it was open to counteroffers to Trump's recent proposals.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic caucus, told reporters after the party's morning caucus meeting Democrats are willing to boost personnel, technology and other enhancements at the border.
"House Democrats, like the American people, support 21st century border security," Jeffries said. But Democrats remain opposed to what Jeffries called "a medieval border wall. That is a 5th century solution to a 21st century problem."
The potential new offer from Democrats comes during severe disruptions in some federal services as the longest government shutdown in U.S. history stretches into a second month and 800,000 federal workers are scheduled to miss another paycheck Friday.
Trump has proposed having Congress fund his $5.7 billion demand for a border wall with Mexico in exchange for temporary deportation relief for some immigrants, including young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally with their parents. Their legal status is now at risk because Trump is seeking to end the program that protects them.
A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said Trump would be willing to go along with permanent legal status for those young immigrants, but probably not a path to citizenship.
The Senate this week is set to vote on dueling proposals – a Republican one that would give Trump money for the wall and one from Democrats that would reopen government through Feb. 8, with no wall money, giving bargainers time to talk about it.
Both proposals are likely to fail to reach the 60-vote threshold needed in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority.