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Immigration

Candidate Trump talked tough on DACA

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Reports are coming in that President Trump has agreed with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on a deal for DACA that will allow DREAMers to stay. While the big controversy surrounds whether or not he agreed that the DACA deal wouldn’t include the border wall (a report the White House denies), lost in the mix is the fact that even dealing with the Democrats on DACA is something candidate Trump would never have done… if his words back then are to be believed.

Check out the video. Those aren’t the words of a many who’s going to cut a deal with the Democrats to let DREAMers and their families stay.

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Economy

Nearly $5 billion being sent to Mexico while border wall languishes in political hell

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Nearly 5 billion being sent to Mexico while border wall languishes in political hell

Talk about adding insult to injury. Not only are we nowhere nearer to getting the wall built on our southern border, but now taxpayer dollars are actually being sent to Mexico to fund development.

This is not a joke, though it’s actually pretty funny.

Today, we learned the White House may be backing down on shutting down the government to get Congress to fund the down payment on the border wall.

Is the White House backing down on the government shutdown?

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/18/white-house-backing-government-shutdown/The White House seems to be in damage-control mode as it shifts from claiming the President will shut down the government if he doesn’t get $5 billion in wall funding to now saying the President could find other ways to get the money for the border wall if DHS budget isn’t sufficient.

This is a clear departure from the bold words during last week’s public standoff between the President and his friends on the Democratic side, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi. At that point, the President was willing to “carry the mantle” of “Trump’s Shutdown” if he didn’t get a CR that included $5 billion for DHS.

Now we’re learning that the United States is sending over $10 billion to Central America and southern Mexico in an aid package designed to stimulate economic growth in the impoverished region, including $4.8 billion to Mexico.

US pledges $10.6B aid for Central America, southern Mexico

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/18/us-pledges-10-6b-aid-central-america-southern-mexico/The plan was announced in a joint U.S.-Mexican statement released by the State Department and read aloud by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard in the Mexican capital.

“In sum I think this is good news, very good news for Mexico,” Ebrard said.

Newly inaugurated President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waxed poetic about the plan to provide jobs so people won’t have to emigrate.

I wasn’t one of those who fell for the idea that the President was going to get Mexico to pay for the border wall, but I never thought I’d see the wall languishing in political hell while we’re sending nearly the exact amount needed to start the wall to Mexico instead. This isn’t the type of change we were promised. This isn’t draining the swamp.

Drudge encapsulated it perfectly with their current top headlines.

Drudge Report

Whether this is some sort of poetic justice against those who thought things would be different or a cruel joke on the nation, one thing is certain. We’re not seeing the progress on stopping illegal immigration that we were promised. Not even close.

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Economy

Is the White House backing down on the government shutdown?

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Is the White House backing down on the government shutdown

The White House seems to be in damage-control mode as it shifts from claiming the President will shut down the government if he doesn’t get $5 billion in wall funding to now saying the President could find other ways to get the money for the border wall if DHS budget isn’t sufficient.

This is a clear departure from the bold words during last week’s public standoff between the President and his friends on the Democratic side, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi. At that point, the President was willing to “carry the mantle” of “Trump’s Shutdown” if he didn’t get a CR that included $5 billion for DHS.

Today, the White House is singing a different tune:

White House suggests it will back down on $5 billion border wall demand

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/18/white-house-suggests-it-will-back-down-on-5-billion-border-wall-demand.html“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion” and will “work with Congress” to do so, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News on Tuesday morning. She added that the Trump administration could support $1.6 billion in border security funding proposed by Senate Democrats, as long as it can “couple that with other funding resources” to get to $5 billion.

My Take

The border wall should have been funded when the Republicans still had a year of control over the House of Representatives. They had just come off a major victory with tax cut. Sentiment was strong and businesses showed signs they were reacting to the cuts well. It was the perfect time to hit the ground running and start building the border wall in earnest.

Somewhere along the lines, both the President and Capitol Hill lost their appetite for a border wall fight. Perhaps someone thought it was prudent to avoid funding the wall before the midterm elections.

Or, maybe it was never a priority to begin with. Maybe it was just a sales pitch.

On the other hand, if the President really can use alternative funding sources, such as from the defense budget, to start building the wall, so be it. That would be very different from what we were originally promised; to go from “Mexico will pay for it” to pulling from our national defense budget is atrocious, but so be it. We need the wall.

In the next couple of days, we’ll find out if the President will stick to his guns or cave under pressure. One way or another, we need to get the wall going as soon as possible. Every day it doesn’t exist is another day of rampant border crossings.

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Immigration

Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

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Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fight over President Donald Trump’s $5 billion wall funds has deepened, threatening a partial government shutdown in a standoff that has become increasingly common in Washington.

It wasn’t always like this, with Congress and the White House at a crisis over government funding. The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law. But in recent years the shutdown scenario has become so routine that it raises the question: Have shutdowns as a negotiating tool lost their punch?

Monday brought few signs of progress. A partial shutdown that could occur at midnight Friday risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season. Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars.

Trump was meeting with his team and getting regular updates, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump was also tweeting Monday to keep up the pressure.

Exiting a Senate Republican leadership meeting late Monday, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said, “It looks like it probably is going to have to build for a few days here before there’s a solution.”

The president is insisting on $5 billion for the wall along the southern border with Mexico, but he does not have the votes from the Republican-led Congress to support it. Democrats are offering to continue funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, not for the wall but for fencing and other border security.

It’s unclear how many House Republicans, with just a few weeks left in the majority before relinquishing power to House Democrats, will even show up midweek for possible votes. Speaker Paul Ryan’s office had no update. Many Republicans say it’s up to Trump and Democrats to cut a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump talk most days, but the senator’s spokesman would not confirm if they spoke Monday about a plan. McConnell opened the chamber hoping for a “bipartisan collaborative spirit” that would enable Congress to finish its work.

“We need to make a substantial investment in the integrity of our border,” McConnell said. “And we need to close out the year’s appropriation process.”

Meanwhile more than 800,000 government workers are preparing for the uncertainty ahead.

The dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

About half the workers would be forced to continue working without immediate pay. Others would be sent home. Congress often approves their pay retroactively, even if they were ordered to stay home.

“Our members are asking how they are supposed to pay for rent, food, and gas if they are required to work without a paycheck,” said a statement from J. David Cox, Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the large federal worker union. “The holiday season makes these inquiries especially heart-wrenching.”

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are already funded for the year and will continue to operate as usual, regardless of whether Congress and the president reach agreement this week.

Congress already approved funding this year for about 75 percent of the government’s discretionary account for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, wouldn’t be affected by any government shutdown because it’s an independent agency.

Trump said last week he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, in a meeting last week at the White House, suggested keeping funding at its current level, $1.3 billion, for improved fencing. Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ offer, telling them he would take a look.

Schumer said Monday he had yet to hear from Trump. Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer warned that “going along with the Trump shutdown is a futile act” because House Democrats would quickly approve government funding in January.

“President Trump still doesn’t have a plan to keep the government open,” Schumer said Monday. “No treat or temper tantrum will get the president his wall.”

One option for lawmakers would be to provide stopgap funding for a few weeks, until the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, when Pelosi is poised to become House speaker.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is in line to become the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, suggested a stopgap bill could be one way to resolve the issue or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.

GOP leaders, though, were frustrated as the clock ticked away. Leaving the weekly leadership meeting, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said any planning was a “very closely held thing. That’s why we should never let this happen. We should pass the bills the way we’re supposed to pass them.”

___

Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

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