Congress Reaches Shutdown Deal If Fox & Friends Don't Veto It
With the government set to run out of money Friday, congressional negotiators announced they'd come to an agreement "in principle" to fund the government and avoid another shutdown. It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump will decide to sign it or will outsource the decision to the usual junta of his favorite rightwing pundits. The agreement provides an itsy-bitsy amount of funding for WALL, but far less than Trump had demanded. Which may not matter anyway since Trump apparently believes he can declare a national emergency and then build whatever he wants.
So what's in this compromise, WALLwise? While it still needs to be written up in legislative language, the New York Times reports the agreement
would allow for 55 miles of new bollard fencing, with some restrictions on location based on community and environmental concerns, according to two congressional aides, who requested anonymity to disclose details of the private negotiations. That is a fraction of the more than 200 miles of steel-and-concrete wall that Mr. Trump demanded — and 10 miles less than negotiators agreed on last summer, before Democrats took control of the House.
The Times also notes the $1.375 billion for new fencing will be "marginally less" -- by a few hundred million bucks and ten miles -- than the amount the Senate Appropriations Committee had included in last year's spending plan. That's the one Trump rejected in December, forcing the 35-day government shutdown. But at least a "bollard fence" will be both sturdy and "see-through," so never mind the bollards, it's the Sex Pistols.
But there are other border security goodies he can crow about:
Beyond the border barriers, the agreement, which primarily funds the Department of Homeland Security, would provide $1.7 billion more for border security, including technology at ports of entry, more officers and humanitarian aid.
No word on whether those additional officers will be picked through that cool private contractor that hired 33 Border Patrol agents at a cost of $60 million, or if this time Homeland Security will just dump money in the desert and hire the first hundred people who reach it.
As for the item that caused negotiations to break down over the weekend, Dems on the negotiating committee backed off on a demand to limit the number of undocumented immigrants ICE can scoop up and detain in the US interior (as opposed to folks crossing the southern border). Democrats had wanted to cap the number of beds at about the same number as in the end of Barack Obama's term, to force ICE to concentrate on holding violent criminals for deportation instead of sweeping up undocumented folks with no criminal record.
Instead, the Dems settled for a more modest reduction in overall detention capacity:
[Lawmakers] agreed to adhere to levels, set by a number of detention beds, established in the previous budget. That would fund 40,520 beds, a decrease of about 17 percent from current levels, which Immigration and Customs Enforcement reached in recent months only by surpassing its funding caps.
Get ready for Rs to insist this still means Dems want murderers turned loose to kill us all, because what else would they say?
Also, could we please just yell at everyone involved for THIS fucking fuckedupedness?
Disaster relief for areas affected by storms and natural disasters last year will not be included, and lawmakers said they would address it separately.
Christ under a leaky blue tarp, that's nuts, fuck all y'all, we hate you.
In any case, the agreement should be all written up and ready to vote on today or tomorrow, although it's anybody's guess what Trump's real brain, as located in the heads of Fox News anchors and Rush Limbaugh, will decide whether to sign off on it. Shortly after the deal was announced, Sean Hannity had already dismissed it as a "garbage compromise," and House Freedom Cockup Mark Meadows had said the agreement doesn't "represent a fraction of what the president has promised the American people," so government workers may want to head to the food pantry now to avoid the rush.
There's still the possibility, of course, that Trump will sign the bill, fund the government, and proclaim victory, with or without an "emergency" declaration that would theoretically allow him to shift money from other programs to WALL (at least until such a declaration is tied up in lawsuits forever). At Trump's red-meat slob buffet in El Paso last night, the arena was decked in banners saying "Finish the Wall," and Trump seems satisfied to feed his supporters the fiction that he's nearly done all the work already:
As his crowd belted out "Build the wall" -- Trump tried to grope for a way out: "You really mean 'finish that wall,' because we have built a lot of it."
Hey, groping has always been an effective strategy for him in the past. The wall is almost done, anyway, and just look, there's only 55 more miles that need to be built! Donald Trump WON AGAIN and all his supporters can now weep grateful tears into their Victory Gin.
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