Posts Tagged ‘Border Security’

The Quickest Way to End the Shutdown

January 22, 2019

Republicans who want to reopen the government now have a realistic path.

Any day now…   Photographer: Joseph Prezioso/AFP

After weeks of offering nothing new, President Donald Trump on Saturday proposed a bargain on immigration. To be sure: It’s not a very promising offer. Trump starts by reiterating his demand for $5.7 billion to build his border wall. Then, for Democrats, he adds temporary protections for immigrants who fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and an extension for those under Temporary Protected Status. But then he adds something more for the anti-immigration side: new restrictions on asylum. That isn’t a trade-off Democrats would ever likely accept, even leaving the border wall aside. It’s an offer intended to give the impression of flexibility without actually moving in the Democrats’ direction.

Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a vote on the proposal. And that’s where the opportunity to end the shutdown comes in.

In the very unlikely event that Republicans are united and seven Democratic senators defect to join them, this measure would pass the Senate and put real pressure on House Democrats to negotiate a deal. If both parties stay united, on the other hand, Trump would have a majority but fall far short of defeating a filibuster. That would demonstrate that his deal doesn’t have the votes in either chamber, but also that the president retained the full support of his party. That result likely prolongs the standoff.

If, however, some of the Republicans who have claimed to be unhappy with Trump’s shutdown are willing to vote against the bill, then Trump’s position would be especially weak. It’d be clear that majorities of both chambers support ending the shutdown if only Trump would agree. Several Republicans have already said that they want to pass short-term funding bills to reopen the government while negotiations continue. They wouldn’t be taking on much added risk if they voted in line with their statements.

For those who want to support the president, it’d be easy enough to say that voting for this deal would be a vote to reopen the government, even though realistically there’s no chance it would get through the House. (McConnell has repeatedly said he won’t waste the Senate’s time by voting for something the president wouldn’t sign; he evidently has no similar hesitation about voting on something the Democratic House won’t pass.) But for any Republicans who want this shutdown to end, opposing Trump’s plan would be the quickest way to make that happen.

1. Matthew Green at Mischiefs of Faction is exactly correct on Trump, the House Freedom Caucus and the shutdown.

2. Josh Huder at the Monkey Cage on the House committee to reform the House.

3. Julie Novkov at A House Divided on deporting veterans, now and historically.

4. Bob Bauer at Lawfare asks a sadly relevant question: What if the House impeaches and the Senate just ignores it?

5. Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly have their latest count on Trump’s false or misleading statements. Yes, there are judgement calls involved, and some of these are no doubt trivial. I’m also not sure that Trump’s worst falsehoods measure up to the worst of previous presidents. But no president has ever shown such a blatant disregard for the truth on a routine basis. It’s not close.

6. And back at the Monkey Cage, Bethany Lacina on public opinion about football players.

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Trump slams Pelosi over comment about ‘immoral’ wall

January 22, 2019

With the Senate and House poised to vote on dueling bills to reopen the government this week, President Trump on Monday put the squeeze on Nancy Pelosi over her rejection of his latest proposal.

“Nancy Pelosi thinks that Walls are ‘immoral,’ why isn’t she requesting that we take down all of the existing Walls between the US and Mexico, even the new ones just built in San Diego at their very strong urging. Let millions of unchecked ‘strangers’ just flow into the US,” Trump tweeted about the House speaker.

The California Democrat has remained steadfast in her opposition to giving the president the $5.7 billion he has demanded, and Trump has been equally insistent that he won’t sign bills that would reopen the government until he gets his way.

Thirty-one days into the partial government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans appeared no closer to ending the impasse than when it began, with Trump lashing out at his opponents after they dismissed a plan he’d billed as a compromise.

Trump on Sunday branded Pelosi a “radical,” and said she was acting “irrationally.”

The president also tried to fend off criticism from the right, as conservative pundit Ann Coulter and others on the right accused him of embracing “amnesty” for immigrants in the country illegally.

Trump offered on Saturday to temporarily extend protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange for $5.7 billion for his border wall.

But Democrats said the three-year proposal didn’t go nearly far enough to protect the so-called Dreamers.

With hundreds of thousands of federal workers set to face another payless payday this week, the issue passed to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to bring Trump’s proposal to the floor this week.

Democrats say there’s little chance the measure will reach the 60-vote threshold usually required to advance legislation in the Senate.

Republicans have a 53-47 majority, which means they need at least some Democrats to vote in favor.

What’s unclear is how McConnell will bring Trump’s plan forward — or when voting will begin.

Democrats continue to say that they will not negotiate with Trump until he ends the shutdown, the longest in American history, and the Democratic-controlled House planned to advance legislation this week that would reopen the government.


The Shutdown Shows the Weakness of the Resistance — No European-Style Yellow Vests

January 21, 2019

The grass-roots progressive activism of the past two years has been inspiring. But it’s still a shadow of what the country needs.

By  David Leonhardt
The New York Times

The grass-roots progressive movement known as the resistance has had a very good two years. It beat back attempts to take health insurance away from millions of Americans, and it helped defeat a Republican House majority that was enabling President Trump. Neither of those outcomes looked likely when he took office.

But the government shutdown has shown the limits of this new progressive movement. The resistance has had virtually no effect on the politics of the shutdown — and a stronger movement could have a big effect.

When I’ve spoken to people from other countries over the past couple of weeks, they have been shocked that Americans have not begun protesting the shutdown in large numbers. About 800,000 federal workers have now gone almost a month without getting paid. Some are struggling to pay their rent or buy medications. Some have gone to pawn shops to get cash. Major functions of government — airline security, food safety, mortgage processing, farm assistance and so on — have been impaired.

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If this were happening in Europe, as Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago told me, people would be pouring into the streets. And yet in the United States, there has been nothing but a few smallscattered rallies.

Instead of lining up to protest, hundreds of federal workers in Washington lined up last week to eat at makeshift soup kitchens. The photos of them doing so were a study in powerlessness.

It’s not hard to envision a different scenario. Trump was already an unpopular president before Fox News hosts goaded him in December into rejecting a bipartisan Senate deal to keep the government open. Polls show that most voters correctly blame him for the shutdown. Congressional Democrats are largely united. Republicans are less so, with some publicly signaling their discomfort. They and Trump are the politically vulnerable players in the shutdown.

Imagine if there were a progressive movement strong enough to pressure Trump by highlighting the damage he is doing. What could that look like? Among other things, it could look like a nationwide one-day strike by federal workers.

With even a minority of them participating, it would create huge logistical problems at airports and elsewhere. Americans who support the workers could join them on the picket lines. The day after the strike, the federal workers could return to their jobs, as a sign of their commitment. The threat of future strikes would be clear. The human effects of the shutdown would no longer be so easy for the country to ignore.

Yes, strikes by federal workers are illegal. But requiring people to work without pay may also be illegal, legal scholars have pointed out. Either way, protest movements often use illegal tactics. It’s called civil disobedience, and it can succeed when the cause is sympathetic. Federal workers forced to visit pawn shops because of a petulant, wealthy president are pretty sympathetic.

The modern labor movement was launched in part by the illegal sit-down strikes of 1936-37, when workers in Flint, Mich., and other cities occupied factories to keep them from operating. The civil-rights movement frequently used illegal tactics. Last year, teachers in Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia risked breaking the law by walking off their jobs — and nonetheless won concessions. “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws,” wrote a certain reverend whose 90th birthday the country is celebrating on Monday. “Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

The celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. will include a lot of pap about peace and equality. But King didn’t think that peace and equality just happened. He thought people had to struggle for them. He understood that most great societal advances in America’s history — independence from Britain, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, decent pay for workers — depended on mass political movements.

The government shutdown, of course, is a minor issue compared to those to advances. But it is also a clear sign that the country lacks the sort of popular movement necessary to make progress against today’s great challenges: a fraying democracy and dysfunctional government; a stagnation of living standards for much of the population; a violently warming planet.

The Trump resistance has been the most hopeful sign of activism in decades. Thousands and thousands of people, mostly women, have been inspired to march, organize, dive into local politics and get out the vote. They have already proven that their activism can make a difference. A lot of Americans owe their health insurance today to this new movement.

But relative to the scale of the country’s problems — and the strength of past political movements — the new movement remains too small and too weak. Figuring out how to build it up is a vastly more important question for progressives than, say, figuring out who the ideal 2020 Democratic nominee will be. Get the movement right, and the politicians will follow.

In the meantime, the shutdown reaches its one-month mark by the end of Monday, the same day the country is supposed to be honoring grass-roots activism.

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David Leonhardt is a former Washington bureau chief for the Times, and was the founding editor of The Upshot and head of The 2020 Project, on the future of the Times newsroom. He won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, for columns on the financial crisis. @DLeonhardt  Facebook

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Where Have You Gone, Resistance?
Image result for yellow vest, france, pictures
See also:

The Yellow Vests Are Going to Change France. We Just Don’t Know How.

A protester stands in front of riot police at the Arc de Triomphe on January 12.

A protester stands in front of riot police at the Arc de Triomphe on January 12.  LE PICTORIUM / BARCROFT IMAGES / BARCROFT MEDIA VIA GETTY

Trump Moves Closer to Compromise, Further From Base

January 21, 2019

By unveiling a deal to end the government shutdown standoff, at its heart an exchange of border wall funding for extended protections for illegal immigrants and foreign nationals, President Trump took one step forward on compromise and two steps back on satisfying his base.

US President Donald Trump at a press conference in the White House (REUTERS)

The deal Trump pitched Saturday afternoon included extensions for recipients of the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, programs in return for $5.7 billion for additional barriers at the southern border.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., beat Trump to the punch, calling the plan a “nonstarter” for the Democrat-controlled lower chamber, Trump’s strongest allies who have long championed his hard-line immigration policies felt betrayed.

Image result for Nancy Pelosi, ann Coulter, pictures

Conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter tweeted, “Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb!” The Drudge Report, a popular conservative aggregation website, trumpeted a banner that read, “Trump dangles amnesty.”

“A Big Beautiful Concrete Border Wall will be a monument to the Rule of Law, the sovereignty of the USA, & @RealDonaldTrump,” tweeted Rep. Steve King , R-Iowa. “If DACA Amnesty is traded for $5.7 billion(1/5 of a wall), wouldn’t be enough illegals left in America to trade for the remaining 4/5. NO AMNESTY 4 a wall!”

In a series of tweets Sunday morning, Trump pleaded his case to the Right while also warning Democrats not to laugh off his offer. “No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer,” he said Sunday morning. “It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!”

Throughout the day, Trump also furiously retweeted a slew of GOP lawmakers, actor James Woods, and influential conservative radio host Mark Levin, all of whom praised his efforts to end the shutdown, which enters its 31st day on Monday and is affecting important policy portfolios at the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Treasury.

Trump’s offensive will begin in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced he will take up legislation next week incorporating the deal Trump outlined. The measure requires 60 votes to advance, which means Republicans will need the support of seven Democrats to pass the measure, assuming no GOP lawmakers vote against it. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has already said he will rally his party to oppose the plan.

But there is some hope for Trump.

At least one Senate Democrat seems to be taking Trump’s offer on immigration reform as a sign an end to the partial government shutdown may be near. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who won re-election last November in a state Trump carried by 42 points in 2016, hasn’t said he will support the GOP-led push. But he did say Saturday evening that he’s looking forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to “end this shameful shutdown.” “I’m hopeful the President’s statement tonight will allow us to immediately reopen gov, put WVians back to work & start negotiating long-term immigration reform,” Manchin said in a tweet.

Related image

Joe Manchin

The spending package, which could be scheduled for a vote as early as Tuesday, would reopen the parts of the federal government closed by the ongoing shutdown until Oct. 1 and allocate $12 billion for disaster aid, about $4 billion more than that proposed last year by House Republicans, a congressional aide confirmed to the Washington Examiner.

The measure — based on seven appropriations bills already considered by a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers — will allow $5.7 billion to be spent on Trump’s southern border impediments and implement the series of immigration concessions suggested by the president.

Aides hope the disaster relief funding will be an added sweetener to entice enough Democrats to help push it through. However, the vote could be delayed until Thursday if McConnell fails to convince Democrats to let him substitute the text of a House-passed measure with his proposal.

If Trump’s shutdown gambit plays out successfully in the Senate, the larger question remains: Will Pelosi and rank-and-file Democrats feel the pressure and play ball?

Pelosi said Trump’s plan was “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.” She particularly lamented how the proposal does not achieve what Democrats have long sought for the “Dreamers,” which is a pathway to citizenship or permanent legal status.

Trump tweeted Sunday that Pelosi is being unreasonable because she is “petrified” of her allies on the Left. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has told Trump that he thinks Pelosi relishes the opportunity to embarrass him.

Democrats have said they won’t deal on border security until spending bills are passed, as 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay. If they hold the line, Trump may be the one to fold under the weight of public opinion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, speaks to reporters as she leaves an event with furloughed federal workers amid the partial government shutdown, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, speaks to reporters as she leaves an event with furloughed federal workers amid the partial government shutdown, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Polls show the majority of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown. “The president is very much aware he’s losing the public opinion war on this one,” one senior administration official told the Post. “He looks at the numbers.”

As the American people’s patience runs thin, the Trump administration is increasingly feeling the squeeze. Vice President Mike Pence hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit to defend his boss and even said he was open to further negotiations. “The legislative process is a negotiation,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.”

However, Pence struggled to answer the question of whether Republicans are using the government shutdown as leverage for Trump’s southern border wall.

“You could open the government tomorrow. The House has passed bills to open the government tomorrow, why don’t you sign them and open the government, and then you can negotiate about this?” host Chris Wallace asked Pence.

Pence’s response belied what the polls say. “Well, because — I mean, you know, frankly, Chris, what the American people want us to do is to work on the priorities and the American people want us to secure the border.”

See also:

Nancy Pelosi should negotiate with Ann Coulter

House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn May Have a Plan To End Government Shutdown, Immigration Impasse

January 21, 2019

The No. 3 House Democrat on Sunday offered a path for a deal to end the almost month-long partial government shutdown, focused on a permanent solution for so-called “Dreamers” rather than the three-year reprieve offered by President Donald Trump.

“Let’s go back and forth on this and see where we can find common ground,” House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said on “Fox News Sunday.” He spoke a day after Trump made his offer, which was rejected even before he presented it by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats.

U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.  Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Clyburn said Democrats would love “to have a permanent fix” for the undocumented individuals in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, as well as people from various countries at risk of losing Temporary Protected Status — just as Trump “wants a permanent wall.”

“We want to sit down and put some stability in people’s lives,” Clyburn said. “We are all for negotiations.”

But Clyburn said Trump should first agree to open the government to give lawmakers several weeks to negotiate a deal that would include more money for a wall on the southern U.S. border. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion, which Democrats have flatly rejected.

Lawmakers from both parties and Vice President Mike Pence went on Sunday morning political shows — and Trump took to Twitter — to talk about a potential deal after the president on Saturday outlined what he called a compromise to secure money for the wall he promised during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Blame Game

It was Trump’s first substantive offer aimed at peeling off moderate Democrats and shifting blame with an American public that so far holds him the most responsible for the month-long shutdown that reached its 30th day on Sunday.

The Senate plans a vote as early as Tuesday on a package that would fund the shuttered parts of the federal government to Oct. 1 and provide $12 billion in disaster aid while enacting Trump’s compromise immigration offer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will attempt to amend a House-passed spending bill with the text of the new legislation on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the plan. If he cannot get consent from Democrats to do that, the vote on the bill would be pushed to Thursday, the person said.

The vote would come just before about 800,000 federal workers are set to miss their second paychecks on Friday from the shutdown. The House also plans votes this week on a package containing six of the same seven spending bills.

Additional $1 Billion

Clyburn noted that Democrats have already offered an additional $1 billion for border measures including upgrades at ports of entry. Clyburn said Trump also now seems to be talking more about “barriers” instead of the wall — and on Saturday the president said the barrier would not be “sea to sea” — a shift the Democrat welcomed.

The Democratic measure would provide $563 million for immigration judges and $524 million for upgrading ports of entry. That’s up from $504 million for judges last year and $254 million for ports of entry.

Clyburn said he’s previously backed measures that include enhanced border control technology and drones. That, he said, would be more effective than “a monument.”

“I’ve been talking about barriers for a long time,” Clyburn said.

While Clyburn pressed the Democratic insistence that Trump agree to open the government to allow time for negotiations, the idea of trading border funding for permanent deportation relief is an idea that’s had broad bipartisan support in the past.

Previous Support

Some 54 senators, including most Democrats, backed a path to citizenship for the DACA population in 2018 in return for $25 billion in border funding over a decade. But Trump opposed the bill because he also insisted on cuts to legal immigration.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a newly minted 2020 presidential hopeful, said Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for everyone eligible for DACA in return for border money.

“We put a deal on the table a year ago to say, we will give you the border security money that you want” in return for a path to citizenship for all “Dreamers,” she said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “That is still there for him. The fact that he’s saying three years just for DACA just shows that he’s not serious.”

Pence said earlier Sunday on Fox that the administration was open to negotiations, but he wasn’t willing to concede that Trump’s offer is dead-on-arrival at the Capitol.

Not Amnesty

“Now people will start voting and we’ll see where they stand,” Pence said. He also insisted that the president’s proposal wasn’t amnesty when asked about criticism from the right.

“This is not amnesty, there’s no pathway to citizenship, there is no permanent status here at all, which is what amnesty contemplates,” Pence said.

Trump issued several early morning tweets about the impasse, blasting Pelosi as “a Radical Democrat” and also insisting his proposal wasn’t “amnesty” as some prominent conservatives have said. The president suggested he would ultimately be willing to trade amnesty for an agreement, though.

“Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else,” he said on Twitter. He also promised “no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally” but added in a message to Pelosi, “be careful Nancy!”

Donald J. Trump


No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!

38.1K people are talking about this

The suggestion of amnesty for Dreamers or others under any circumstance is likely to rile some of Trump’s anti-immigration critics on the far right. “Trump proposes amnesty,” conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted on Saturday. “We voted for Trump and we got Jeb!”

McConnell to call for vote on Trump’s protection of ‘Dreamers’

January 21, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly planning to pressure Democrats over the ongoing government shutdown by bringing up President Trump’s wall-compromise proposal for a vote this week — and combining it with legislation passed by House Democrats to fund government agencies through the fiscal year.

The GOP Senate leader is hoping the move will push blame for the shutdown onto the Democrats, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Trump on Saturday offered $5.7 billion for his border wall in return for some temporary protections for the immigrant Dreamers — but the Democrats have so far refused to negotiate at all on border protections as long as the shutdown continues.

Trump to make ‘major announcement’ about shutdown

January 19, 2019

President Trump said he will make a “major announcement” about border security and the ongoing government shutdown Saturday at 3 p.m.

Details of the announcement were not known in advance. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would only say that Trump was “going to continue fighting for border security” and “going to continue looking for the solution” to end what the administration had repeatedly referred to as a “humanitarian and national security crisis at the border.”

The move, amid a shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks, marks the first major overture by the president since Jan. 8, when he delivered an Oval Office address making the public case for his border wall. Democrats have said they will not negotiate until the government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball forward.

Democrats were proposing $563 million to hire 75 more immigration judges, who currently face large backlogs processing cases, and $524 million to improve ports of entry in Calexico, California, and San Luis, Arizona, the Associated Press reported, citing a Democratic House aide. The money is to be added to spending bills, largely negotiated between the House and Senate, that the House plans to vote on next week.

The president plans to speak from the White House following a Saturday morning visit to Dover Air Force Base, where he will meet with families of “four very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country,” he tweeted early Saturday.

Four Americans were killed in a suicide bombing claimed by ISIS Wednesday in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. The bombing, which also wounded three U.S. troops, was the deadliest assault on U.S. forces in Syria since they went into the country in 2015.

With Post Wires

See also:

Trump Plans ‘Major Announcement’ on Border, Longest Shutdown

The White House declined to provide details late Friday about what the president would be announcing. But Trump was not expected to sign the national emergency declaration he’s been threatening as an option to circumvent Congress, according to two people familiar with the planning.

Instead, Trump was expected to propose the outlines of a new deal that the administration believes could potentially pave the way to an end to the shutdown, according to one of the people. They were not authorized to discuss the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move, amid a shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks, represents the first major overture by the president since Jan. 8, when he delivered an Oval Office address making the public case for his border wall. Democrats have said they will not negotiate until the government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball forward.

Democrats were proposing $563 million to hire 75 more immigration judges, who currently face large backlogs processing cases, and $524 million to improve ports of entry in Calexico, California, and San Luis, Arizona, the Democratic House aide said. The money is to be added to spending bills, largely negotiated between the House and Senate, that the House plans to vote on next week.

In addition, Democrats were working toward adding money for more border security personnel and for sensors and other technology to a separate bill financing the Department of Homeland Security, but no funds for a wall or other physical barriers, the aide said.

It was possible Democrats would unveil that measure next week as the cornerstone of their border security alternative to Trump’s wall, the aide said. Earlier Friday, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., who chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s homeland security subcommittee, said in an interview that some Democrats were asking leaders, “What is our plan?”

The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the details publicly. The Democrats’ spending plans were first reported by The New York Times.

In a video posted on his Twitter feed late Friday, Trump said both sides should “take the politics out of it” and “get to work” to “make a deal.” But he also repeated his warnings, saying: “We have to secure our southern border. If we don’t do that, we’re a very, very sad and foolish lot.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said only that Trump was “going to continue fighting for border security” and “going to continue looking for the solution” to end what the administration had repeatedly referred to as a “humanitarian and national security crisis at the border.”

While few would argue that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the demand for entry by migrants and the Trump administration’s hardline response overwhelm border resources, critics say Trump has dramatically exaggerated the security risks and argue that a wall would do little to solve existing problems.

Trump will be speaking from the Diplomatic Room at 3 p.m.

Trump’s Friday evening tweeted announcement came after Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip. The White House said there was no such leak.

It was the latest turn — and potentially the most dangerous — in the high-stakes brinkmanship between Trump and Pelosi that has been playing out against the stalled negotiations over how to end the partial government shutdown.

And it showed once again the willingness of the former hard-charging businessman to hit hard when challenged, as he was earlier this week when Pelosi suggested postponing his State of the Union address until after the shutdown.

It was an unusually combative week between the executive and legislative branches.

Tensions flared when Pelosi suggested Trump postpone the annual State of the Union address, a grand Washington tradition — and a platform for his border wall fight with Democrats — that was tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29.

Trump never responded directly. Instead, he abruptly canceled Pelosi’s military flight on Thursday, hours before she and a congressional delegation were to depart for Afghanistan on the previously undisclosed visit to U.S. troops.

Trump belittled the trip as a “public relations event” — even though he had just made a similar stop in a conflict zone during the shutdown — and said it would be best if Pelosi remained in Washington to negotiate to reopen the government.

Pelosi, undeterred, quietly began making her own preparations for the overseas trip.

But on Friday, Pelosi said her plan to travel by commercial plane had been “leaked” by the White House.

“The administration leaked that we were traveling commercially,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol. She said it was “very irresponsible on the part of the president.”

She said the State Department told her “the president outing” the original trip made the scene on the ground in Afghanistan “more dangerous because it’s a signal to the bad actors that we’re coming.”

The White House said it had leaked nothing that would cause a security risk.

Denying military aircraft to a senior lawmaker — let alone the speaker, who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president, traveling to a combat region — is very rare.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California slammed Trump for revealing the closely held travel plan, calling it “completely and utterly irresponsible in every way.”

Some Republicans expressed frustration. Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, “One sophomoric response does not deserve another.” He called Pelosi’s State of the Union move “very irresponsible and blatantly political” but said Trump’s reaction was “also inappropriate.”

Associated Press

Trump Vows Announcement on Border as Talks Remain Stalled

January 19, 2019
New twist in week of acrimony between Capitol and White House
Democrats working on a border security plan with no wall money
 Updated on 

President Donald Trump promised a “major announcement” on the government shutdown Saturday as he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi headed into a long holiday weekend with no sign their increasingly acrimonious standoff is any closer to an end.

Image result for Donald Trump, agriculture, new orleans, photos
President Donald Trump speaks at the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in New Orleans, Monday

The president plans to renew his demand for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, but also offer incentives for congressional Democrats, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Donald J. Trump


I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse.

Although Trump has hinted that he might declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and fund the wall if other options failed, he does not plan to do so on Saturday, according to the person, who was granted anonymity to discuss the announcement beforehand.

The person would not discuss what Trump plans to offer to the Democrats who now control the U.S. House, beyond saying that it may have something to do with immigration.

Nancy Pelosi Trump meeting setup sot vpx_00000000

The Democrats, who have adamantly refused his demands for $5.7 billion for the wall, have called for protections for young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and other immigration reforms.

Trump’s tweet late Friday previewing the announcement capped three days of dramatic twists in a clash between the president and the speaker that’s become highly personal.

The president blocked Pelosi and a congressional delegation from visiting U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the weekend, a day after she said he should postpone his Jan. 29 State of the Union address. On Friday, Pelosi abandoned an attempt to fly there on commercial flights, saying that administration leaks about the trip endangered the lives of the participants.

Read More: The Shutdown’s Bad. Buckle Up Because It Could Get Much Worse

“It was very irresponsible on the part of the president,” Pelosi told reporters.

In canceling the military flight, Trump said he wanted her to remain in Washington to negotiate. But as of Friday, Pelosi’s office had received no White House invitation for further talks, even as Trump moved on other fronts, including scheduling a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the end of February.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment on the possibility of Pelosi being invited for meetings over the weekend.

The dispute over the wall led to the impasse, which has closed nine government departments and dozens of agencies since Dec. 22. Democrats are trying to craft their own border security plan that doesn’t include new wall funding, though the White House didn’t indicate any softening of the president’s stance.

“What really has to happen is Nancy Pelosi needs to come back to the White House or send others here who are actually willing to converse and negotiate and come up with the money for border security,” Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said in an appearance on Fox Business Network. “Our doors are open.”

In Ankara, Turkey, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said the stalemate could be resolved soon, citing “behind the scenes” meetings he’s had with Democrats and Vice President Michael Pence.

“I believe there is a deal that can be reached fairly quickly,” Graham told Bloomberg Saturday after meetings with Turkish leaders. “I think this can be done in a couple of weeks, not a couple of months.”

Read More: Explaining the Longest-Ever Government Shutdown

Democrats have rallied around the position that only after the government opens would they be willing to talk about increased border security. Republicans said Democrats would have to offer more than the $1.3 billion in border funds they have already put on the table.

Border Tactics

Pelosi said this week that her party is willing to talk about increased border security money but not to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to build a 2,000 mile wall.

“In case I wasn’t clear, 90 percent of the drugs coming into the country come through the ports of entry. Let’s use resources to expand the ports of entry,” she told reporters. “This has to be evidence-based, not notion-mongered.”

By coming up with their own proposal, Democrats can inoculate themselves against charges by Trump and his supporters that they’re in favor of open borders.

“We’ve got to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against,” former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential challenger to Trump in 2020, said in an interview in Washington.

Pelosi, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York and Homeland Security subcommittee Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard of California and their staffs are seeking to draft the plan by Tuesday.

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Lucille Roybal-Allard

“A lot of members are asking what is our plan here,” Roybal-Allard said. “We are looking at all the options.”

Read More: Trump Pulls U.S. Delegation Out of Davos Forum, Citing Shutdown

A Homeland Security spending bill could be voted on by Friday and perhaps become the basis of any Democratic offer in talks once the government opened, according to two Democratic aides.

The amount of funding for the border could approach the $5.7 billion Trump is seeking but none of it would be for a wall, according to one of the aides.

Roybal-Allard said that she would be looking at adding personnel, technology, and infrastructure at the border as well as securing ports of entry and funding more immigration judges to process backlogs of immigration cases.

Humanitarian aid for asylum-seekers and aid for Central American countries to encourage migrants to remain at home are also on the table, as is facilitating trade between the U.S. and Mexico.

A House vote on the bill could help lawmakers get out of the impasse by presenting an offer without violating the Democratic pledge not to give in to a White House that provoked the shutdown. Democrats say that could set a precedent that would encourage Trump to use the debt ceiling or future spending bills as leverage.

Separately, Democrats are adding border provisions to a package of six bills funding other parts of the government and set for a vote next week. Totaling about $1 billion, half the money would be used to strengthen security at ports of entry and half to fund more immigration judges.

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Josh Gottheimer

Developing a House plan could ease the concern of moderate Democrats that the party is not doing enough to try to resolve the impasse. This week, members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, met with Trump in the White House but didn’t emerge with any potential solution.

“We were there to say there are enough of us who want to sit down and find an agreement,” Representative Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat, said after the meeting.

— With assistance by Margaret Talev, Jennifer Jacobs, and Alyza Sebenius


To End the Shutdown, Try Thinking Big on Immigration

January 19, 2019

Thinking Only Wall is Thinking Small

Both parties are to blame for this embarrassing impasse. Yet a sensible longer-term immigration solution may be possible.

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As the U.S. government shutdown approaches the one-month mark, one thing has become abundantly clear: Few politicians in Washington—Republican or Democrat, in Congress or the White House—consider the best interest of the country a priority. The fight is all about politics, partisanship and power.

To win the day, both sides are willing to upend the lives of 800,000 government employees and their families—and countless others who depend on the spending of those families for their own livelihoods. Some surely have to deal with unpaid mortgages and rent, medical bills, car payments and even a shortage of money for food. What do the politicians have to say for themselves for imposing such hardships?

Robert M. Gates, far left

The Democrats oppose funding for a border wall or barrier, calling it “immoral.” But that didn’t prevent them from voting to build hundreds of miles of such barriers along the border in the recent past. It seems they oppose extending the barrier only because President Trump proposed it. And apart from increased spending on technology and additional Border Patrol agents, Democrats have been mum on how they would deal with the thousands of families approaching the border and seeking refuge in the U.S. from crime and deprivation back home—much less the broader immigration problem.

For his part, Mr. Trump has stoked fear, distorted facts, and exploited the immigration issue to create a false sense of crisis for political benefit. His policies have produced photographs of thousands of children separated from their parents, held in holding pens that look more like Syrian refugee camps than what we would expect in America. The country does face a serious problem with illegal immigration, and has for many years now, but the president has offered no proposals on how to deal with it comprehensively. Only a wall.

Mr. Trump insists on $5.7 billion for a wall, and the Democrats refuse to give him any money at all. As a result, major elements of the government remain shut down.

Put aside the polls on who is getting more blame for the shutdown. All those involved share responsibility for the fiasco and its lamentable consequences for millions of Americans. For too long hyperpartisanship has prevented the American government from addressing the immigration problem.

Yet perhaps the crisis—in Washington, not at the border—could yield an opportunity. Instead of thinking small—trading some money for a wall in exchange for taking care of the “Dreamers”—couldn’t Congress and the president think big? The 2006 immigration-reform legislation supported by President George W. Bush provided a comprehensive plan to harden security along the border and provide legal status for the 11 million or so aliens already living in America illegally. The U.S. cannot send them all home, yet need not necessarily give them a path to citizenship. But the government could legitimize their presence to ensure that they pay taxes and no longer live in fear. Give the president all the money he seeks—and more, if necessary—to secure the border in exchange for a longer-term immigration solution.

Such a win-win outcome might seem naive. But it looks a lot better than the situation we’re in now. Mr. Bush’s proposal passed the Senate in 2006 by 62-36. Perhaps the way out of today’s impasse is to enlarge the problem, not shrink it, and proceed strategically instead of adopting another short-term fix.

The American government’s longest shutdown ever makes the country—or at least its leaders—look ridiculous. It’s past time for leaders in Washington, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, to place the interests of the country above their power struggles and political mud-wrestling. Surprise all Americans and end this disgraceful shutdown with a sensible compromise that actually addresses the immigration problem.

Mr. Gates has served in eight U.S. administrations, mostly recently as defense secretary for George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

U.S. Government Shutdown “Coud End in Disaster”

January 18, 2019

The current political dynamics won’t change until voters get a lot angrier.

Aides on Capitol Hill fear that a dramatic government failure may be the only thing to force President Trump and the Democrats back to the table.

As the longest government shutdown in American history lurches toward its fifth week, a grim but growing consensus has begun to emerge on Capitol Hill: There may be no way out of this mess until something disastrous happens.

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This is, of course, not a sentiment lawmakers are eager to share on the record. But in interviews this week with congressional staffers on both sides of the aisle (whom I granted anonymity in exchange for candor), I heard the same morbid idea expressed again and again.

The basic theory—explained to me between weary sighs and defeated shrugs—goes like this: Washington is at an impasse that looks increasingly unbreakable. President Donald Trump is dug in; so is Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Democrats have public opinion on their side, but the president is focused on his conservative base. For a deal to shake loose in this environment, it may require a failure of government so dramatic, so shocking, as to galvanize public outrage and force the two parties back to the negotiating table.

In these interviews, I heard an array of macabre hypotheticals—from airplane crashes to food-safety scares, TSA strikes to terrorist incidents. But the one theme that ran through every conversation was a sense that the current political dynamics won’t change until voters get a lot angrier.

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