Shutdown aversion deal gives USD 1.37 billion for wall

Updated: Feb 13, 2019, 08:53 IST | Agencies

The bill would provide USD 1.375 billion for the construction of the wall, far less than USD 5.7 billion congressional funding Trump has demanded

Shutdown aversion deal gives USD 1.37 billion for wall
Senate and House negotiators from both parties held a closed-door meeting in Washington. Pic/AFP

Democrats and Republicans have struck a deal in principle to fund the US government and avert another crippling government shutdown while denying President Donald Trump much of the USD 5.7 billion he demanded to build a controversial wall along the US-Mexico border.

The announcement by lawmakers on Monday night came days ahead of a possible government shutdown from Friday in the absence of such an agreement. Senate and House negotiators from both parties, who held a closed-door meeting in Washington, did not comment on the details of the deal, saying the staff is still working on last-minute logistics.

"We've had a good evening. We've reached an agreement in principle between us on the Homeland Security and the other six bills," said Senator Richard Shelby on Monday night. As a result, the House and the Senate are likely to pass a new resolution before the February 15 deadline.

According to reports, the bill would provide USD 1.375 billion for wall construction, far less than USD 5.7 billion congressional funding Trump has demanded to build the wall. According to Trump, illegal immigrants pose a national security risk to the US and can only be stopped by the construction of a border wall. If accepted, the deal would end a standoff in which Trump has threatened to cut budgets from swaths of government.

The tentative agreement, also specifically prohibits the use of a concrete wall. But, senior Congressional aides separately noted that it will fund new barriers for approximately 88 kms along the US-Mexico border. The agreement came as Trump went to the southern border in El Paso, Texas to address a rally with his supporters on the wall. The White House did not comment on the agreement and Trump said at the rally, "We probably have some good news but who knows."

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