Washington: Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement Monday in principle to fund the US government and avert another partial government shutdown at the end of the week while denying President Donald Trump much of the money he has sought to build walls along the US-Mexico border.
The announcement by lawmakers Monday night came days ahead of a possible government shutdown in the absence of such an agreement.
Senate and House negotiators from both parties, who held a closed-door meeting here, did not comment on the details of the deal, stating that the staff is still working on last-minute logistics.
Sharp differences between Democrats and President Trump over border security and building a wall along the US-Mexico border resulted in a record partial government shutdown for more than 30 days.
“We’ve had a good evening. We’ve reached an agreement in principle between us on the Homeland Security and the other six bills,” Senator Richard Shelby told reporters Monday night at the Capitol Hill.
As a result of the agreement, the House and the Senate are likely to pass a new resolution before the February 15 deadline.
According to sources, the bill would provide USD 1.375 billion for wall construction, far less than USD 5.7 billion congressional funding Trump has demanded. But, if accepted, the deal would end a standoff in which Trump has threatened to cut budgets from swaths of government this Friday.
The tentative agreement, according to the ‘Hill’ newspaper, also specifically prohibits the use of a concrete wall. But, senior Congressional aides separately noted that it will fund approximately 55 new miles of barriers along the US-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley sector.
The White House didn’t comment on the agreement and Trump said while addressing a rally in El Paso, Texas, “We probably have some good news but who knows. We need the wall and it has to be built and we want to build it fast.”