Friday, 18 January, 2019

Congress to reconvene with no end in sight for federal shutdown

Trump's border wall 'not really a wall', says outgoing chief of staff John Kelly John Kelly shines light on life inside Donald Trump's White House
Andrew Cummings | 02 January, 2019, 16:38

The legislation doesn't include any designated funds for President Donald Trump's border wall, although The Associated Press reports it could have some $1.3 billion for border security.

"The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it", Trump wrote on Twitter. Its prospects there appear unpromising, although Trump's unpredictability makes it hard to gauge how the shutdown showdown will play out.

"It's simple: The Senate is not going to send something to the president that he won't sign", said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The House Democratic plan will include one bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through February 8, with $1.3 billion for border security.

Democrats expect their two-pronged funding approach could put Mr Trump and his Republican allies in a tough position.

President Donald Trump said that the partial USA government shutdown was likely to continue unless Congress gave him money for a wall on the Mexican border. Thus, parts of the 2018 budget (including Customs and Border Protection funding) were set to expire on September 30, 2018. Others said border security could include a wall, fencing and high-tech monitoring.

House aides point out that bills with very similar language all passed with bipartisan votes in the Senate last fall, either on the floor or in committee. Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall while campaigning, but has since insisted on using US taxpayer funds, even partially shutting down the federal government, to beginning new construction.

Three confidants of President Donald Trump, including his departing chief of staff, are indicating that the president's signature campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border would not be fulfilled as advertised.

Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple
The Sabarimala temple is devoted to the deity Lord Ayappa, who according to legend was born from a union between two male gods. The fight over women's right to enter the temple also comes in the lead-up to India's general election in April and May.

Philadelphia Eagles claim final NFC spot with help from Chicago Bears
Their long-shot scenario is starting the postseason in Los Angeles, if they lose to the Bears and the Rams and Eagles lose, too. Well, finally, these rivals have entered their 2018 season closer in the right positions for a tension-filled game on Sunday.

UVA shuts out SC 28-0 to win the Belk Bowl
The Gamecocks turned the ball over on their first drive of the game after failing to convert on fourth down and one yard to go. It's clearly something he doesn't want to rehash. "We really don't talk too much about it", Thornhill said.

Yet as the shutdown moves through its 10th day, it is clear that the House Democrats' plan to take the first legislative action since the start of the shuttering of roughly a quarter of the federal government remains a nonstarter for Republicans, who still control the chamber on the other side of the US Capitol.

A central issue in finding a resolution could be the definition of what constitutes a wall including the idea of steel slats and other types of barriers versus a concrete structure.

The president has been demanding $5 billion in funding allocated for the construction of a "wall". He also seemed to contradict comments made by outgoing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. The agency said that "work required for the protection of life and property will continue, as will any work related to spectrum auctions, which is funded by auction proceeds".

On March 23, 2018, the President signed HR 1625, a 2018 budget allotting about $1.3 billion dollars to Customs and Border Protection to build border barriers that allow agents to see through to the other side - like the steel bollard designs now in use in several places along the border. And my border patrol people, they do a fantastic job, but, you know, they need the backup of the wall - and they're the ones that want it more than anybody, Pete. "We have to have border security, and a wall is part of border security".

Walter Jones is anxious about how President Trump's border wall would add to the already mushrooming national debt, and he proposed some ways to fund the wall that wouldn't require more borrowing - including having Mr. Trump put up some of his own money. "Makes sense to me!"

The meeting would come as negotiations to re-open about a quarter of the federal government have been frozen for almost two weeks, and just one day before Democrats take over as the majority party in the House.

He adds that, "A lot of people are looking to get their pay cheque, so I'm ready to go whenever they want". The White House has not provided any information on the meeting or the administration officials who will be present.

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