Lawmakers on Capitol Hill said Monday night that they had reached an agreement “in principle” to avert a second government shutdown in two months that would happen after federal funding lapses on Saturday.
“We’ve had a good evening. We’ve reached an agreement in principle between us on the Homeland Security and the other six bills,” Senator Richard Shelby told reporters, standing alongside the three top members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy and Representatives Nita Lowey and Kay Granger.
The deal was reached after the four negotiators met three times on Monday night in an effort to strike a deal after talks seemed to hit an impasse over the weekend, leaving many skeptical about the prospects of reaching an agreement to prevent a partial government shutdown.
The four lawmakers did not reveal the details of the deal, which is expected to be released by Wednesday.
According to a congressional source, the bill will include $1.375 billion for physical barriers, the same amount included in the 2018 fiscal year bill, while specifically banning the use of a concrete wall. The legislation, Congressional aides said, will fund about 55 new miles of barriers along the southern border.
On Monday, congressional negotiators were still divided over key issues such as funding for physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border and the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds and they refused to say how these issues were resolved.
“We worked it out in principle. We think it’s going to work,” Shelby only said.
Democrats appear to have dropped their demand to cap the number of ICE detention beds in the interior of the country, away from the border, at 16,500. According to a congressional aide, the deal included over 40,000 ICE detention beds and some even said there was “enough flexibility to reach the President’s requested level of 52,000 beds.”
Shelby noted that funding for physical barriers along the border was also part of the deal but for now, it remains unclear how much will be included.