The day after congressional negotiators reached an “agreement in principle” to avert another government shutdown, everyone is working hard to spin the deal before complete details come out. For Donald Trump-whisperer and Fox News host Sean Hannity, that means trashing it, calling it a “garbage compromise” that Republicans shouldn’t support, or they will “have to explain.”
The deal includes $1.375 billion for physical barriers along the border, fencing that Republicans will try to spin as being sort of like the “steel slats” Trump conceded he would accept in place of concrete. There’s no disguising, though, that $1.375 billion is nowhere near the $5.7 billion Trump demanded. Or that the 55 miles of physical barriers provided for is actually less than Trump rejected in forcing the government shutdown.
While Democrats dropped a push to limit the number of undocumented immigrants arrested inside the U.S. that ICE can detain, hoping to force ICE to focus on people who’ve committed crimes rather than just scooping up law-abiding immigrants for its own sake, the agreement funds fewer ICE detention beds than the Trump administration had asked for. The 40,520 beds that will be funded is way, way too high, but 17 percent less than the current level.
Republicans are looking for ways to spin this as a win by finding ways Trump can sign the bills and then refuse to abide by them. A Republican source tells Politico that the $1.375 billion is too for Trump’s wall and that despite the number of detention beds funded, the administration will get the number up to its desired 52.000, while Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, had already said the administration was looking for additional funds Trump could shift to his anti-immigrant priorities using executive power.
But if Trump can do that now, why did he shut down the government in December over a plan that had more border barrier funding? That’s a question Trump is trying to avoid through his typical bluster, telling fans at his Monday night El Paso rally that shutting down the government “was a very important thing we did.”