Republicans in the U.S. Senate have released a spending proposal that would end the partial government shutdown, taking direction from a proposal by President Donald Trump that he called a “compromise plan” but which Democrats say will go nowhere, Voice of America reported.
The most politically important piece is $5.7 billion in funding to build a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, something Trump has said since he campaigned for president is necessary to stop illegal immigration and the flow of drugs across the border.
Democrats counter that a wall is an expensive and ineffective way to achieve those goals, and instead have proposed spending $1.3 billion on other measures such as adding more immigration judges and screening technology at border crossings. The Democrat-led House of Representatives has passed several bills with those elements and plans more votes this week, VoA notes.
In exchange for Trump’s demand for border wall funding, the proposal includes pieces meant to entice Democratic support. It would give three years of protection for young immigrants who came to the country illegally when they were children and who are enrolled under an Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The same extension would apply to temporary protected status (TPS) for people who fled Latin American and African countries because of violence or natural disasters. Trump has previously sought to end DACA and to halt TPS for people from certain countries, VoA writes.
The Republican plan would add 750 border patrol agents and 375 customs officers, as well as technology upgrades at ports of entry, and at the same time it would boost funding for immigration enforcement, including adding 2,000 law enforcement, support and legal personnel, and thousands of vehicles.
With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, they would need a number of Democrats to support the bill in order to reach the 60-vote threshold usually required for legislation to advance. The partial government shutdown has been in effect since December 22, and from the rhetoric of Republican and Democratic leaders it does not appear to be on the verge of a resolution, VoA points out.
To make matter worse, Trump on Sunday branded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “radical” and said she was acting “irrationally.” The President also tried to fend off criticism from the right, as conservatives accused him of embracing “amnesty” for immigrants in the country illegally, TIME adds.