U.S. Customs and Border Protection says agents fired tear gas across the border near San Diego early Tuesday when about 150 migrants tried to crawl over and under border fencing. That fencing – or wall-like structure – continues be at the center of the government shutdown as congressional leaders meet with President Donald Trump Wednesday.
John Bresnahan, senior congressional reporter for Politico, says “it’s gonna be fireworks from the start” when Congress reconvenes on Thursday with Democrats in control.
House Democrats plan to vote on two proposals that would end the government shutdown: one funds all of the affected agencies not connected to border security through the end of the current fiscal year; the other would fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8, with no money for a border wall.
Bresnahan says the Senate, where Republicans are still in the majority, is unlikely to accept the House measures, but that there will be “some movement.”
Neither party’s leaders want to repeat the spectacle in December when Trump argued on camera with Democratic leaders over the then-possible government shutdown, Bresnahan says. But now that the government shutdown is a reality, both sides have a lot to lose if the conflict isn’t settled.
“There are 800,000 federal workers out of work right now,” Bresnahan says. “Federal agencies are closing down, and it’s starting to hit all across America.”
Bresnahan says Trump will likely work with Democrats in order to make a deal that would end the shutdown.
In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump revived his claim that Mexico would pay for the border wall he wants, saying that the new trade pact with Mexico and Canada will result in economic benefits that would help fund the wall.
Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of National Security. Quick payback!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2019
Bresnahan points out that USMCA hasn’t yet been approved by Congress, and that the trade deal is not a dramatic departure from the previous one, known as NAFTA.
Bresnahan says he thinks Republicans and Democrats will soon reach an agreement for short-term government funding, but a long-term deal could be far off.
“When you’re dealing with immigration issues, it’s hugely complicated,” he says. “The details really do matter.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.