US House Democrats have plan to fund government, but not a wall


Democrats announced a plan Monday to try to reopen the government by passing a package of Senate-written bills to fund most remaining parts of government for all of 2019, coupled with stopgap funding through February 8 for Homeland Security.

The shutdown, which began December 21, is likely to continue through Thursday when Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

"Nancy Pelosi's newest funding proposal doesn't represent any serious attempt to secure our border or find a compromise", House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in a tweet prior to the plan's unveiling. The agency said that "work required for the protection of life and property will continue, as will any work related to spectrum auctions, which is funded by auction proceeds".

Mr Trump spent New Year's Eve at the White House, canceling his plans to go to his Palm Beach resort because of the shutdown that enters its 11th day with the start of the New Year.

The president's very first words of the new year were an endorsement of a pro-Trump book by former White House aide Sebastian Gorka.

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But he seemed to shift tactics later in the day, appealing to Pelosi, who is expected to take over as speaker when the new Congress convenes. Its prospects there appear unpromising, although Trump's unpredictability makes it hard to gauge how the shutdown showdown will play out.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who vehemently opposed the border wall, calling it "immoral, ineffective and expensive", and her Democratic colleagues reportedly put together legislation that would reopen the government and allocate $1.3 billion to border security, however, none of that would be allowed to go to a border wall.

But the Senate - which is controlled by Republicans - has said in the past that it won't rubber stamp anything that Trump doesn't approve of, and the president has repeatedly said he won't OK any bill without border wall funding.

But now he is blaming Democrats, tweeting, "Democrats, come back from vacation now and give us the votes necessary for border security, including the wall".

A coalition of advocacy groups, including the ACLU, sent Pelosi and Schumer a letter Friday opposing extending funding for the Department of Homeland Security for a full year, citing concerns that such an approach "clearly funds Trump's wall project and must be rejected".

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He said the hardline approach to illegal immigration that had seen children separated from their parents at the border was the brainchild of ex-attorney-general Jeff Sessions, who "surprised us" by announcing the move.

He followed up with a head-scratcher about "some things" that "NEVER get better and NEVER change", adding, "You have Walls and you have Wheels".

To some degree, both Democratic and Republican aides on Capitol Hill say, that has left them with little idea of what the President would actually support in a final deal. We can't afford to keep financing the provision of government services by borrowing more and more money. The point of contention is $5.7 billion that Trump wants for the partial funding of the construction of the wall between U.S. and Mexico.

The other will be on a measure made up of six other bipartisan bills - some that have already passed the Senate - to fund the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and others closed by the partial shutdown.

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