Political News

The border deals that never were

Posted February 13, 2019 6:24 p.m. EST

— Details continue to come together on the agreement among a group of bipartisan lawmakers to fund the government and avoid another partial government shutdown. The bill should be written up by Wednesday evening and could be voted on as early as Wednesday night. While he says he's not happy about the details of the measure, sources tell CNN's Dana Bash that President Donald Trump is inclined to sign it.

Several Republicans are irritated over the proposal -- especially its funding for the border wall -- saying that many of the previous deals were better.

"The deal we ended up with now is worse than we had before the shutdown," Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah told CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are so unhappy they've introduced a continuing resolution to fund the government for a week so Congress can keep negotiating. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows of North Carolina have publicly criticized the deal, with Meadows calling it "hardly a serious attempt to secure our border or stop the flow of illegal immigration," CNN reports.Here's a look at what Trump got with this deal, and how that compares with earlier attempts to secure border security money over the past two years.

What he got

The deal includes $1.375 billion in funding for barriers on the southern border, covering some 55 miles of new construction. It includes an additional $1.7 billion for the Department of Homeland Security's budget on items like security for ports of entry, humanitarian aid and tech. It also disallows the building of concrete walls on the border.

What he wanted

In a Jan. 6 letter to Congress, the administration laid out its border security wish list. Beyond $5.7 billion for a "steel barrier" looking to cover 234 miles, the list included $211 million for 750 new Border Patrol agents, $563 million for 75 more immigration judges and staff, $571 million for 2,000 new law enforcement employees, $4.2 billion for 52,000 detention beds, $800 million for "humanitarian needs" and $675 million for border security tech.

What he could've had

Take 1

In retrospect, Trump could likely have gotten more money for border security a year ago had he worked with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, on a proposed deal that would have included a path to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and $25 billion for the wall. That deal eventually fell apart.

Take 2

Last February, a bipartisan proposal in the Senate included $25 billion over 10 years for border security and a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and those who would be eligible for the program. After Trump vocalized opposition to the proposal it died in the Senate, 54-45.

Take 3

In December, the Senate passed a measure that would have temporarily funded the government through February. The short-term spending bill, however, did not include any funding for the border wall.

The GOP-led House, in a last-ditch effort, put $5.7 billion for the border wall in the spending bill. As expected, the bill failed in the Senate.

What's next?

Even if Trump accepts this new bipartisan proposal, he may pursue additional funding for his wall in ways almost sure to cause legal and political trouble.

As CNN reported Wednesday, the President could work to access $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $3 billion from Army Corps civil funds, $700 million from Pentagon counter-narcotics funds and $680 million in Treasury forfeiture funds.