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Another Shutdown on the Horizon? Congressional Talks Stall over Battle for Border Funding

02-11-2019
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It's down to the wire for a group of 17 lawmakers tasked with reaching an agreement on immigration. They have until Feb. 15 before another partial government shutdown takes hold. 

"I say 50/50 we get a deal," Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told "Fox News Sunday." 

His counterpart, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) wasn't willing to make the wager, noting, "There are bumps in the road."

The latest battle is over the number of detention beds for undocumented immigrants. 

Democrats want to limit the amount and force the president on his promise of going after the so-called "bad hombres." 

"A cap on ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention beds will force the Trump administration to prioritize deportation for criminals and people who pose real security threats," Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said in a statement. 

Republicans disagree and some see it as part of a growing Democratic strategy to undercut ICE.

 "You're actually incentivizing more illegal immigration by reducing the bed space and undercut any money you would give for a wall. He can't sign that bill," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told "Fox News Futures."  

The president requested $5.7 billion to fund the border wall, but reports indicate lawmakers are looking to part with a little over $2 billion at the most.

"You cannot take a shutdown off the table and you cannot take the $5.7 off the table, but if you end up someplace in the middle, what you'll probably see is the president say, 'Ok, and I'll go find the money someplace else?'" said acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. 

That "someplace else" looks to be a combination of legal funds and monies taken from other departments. 

"There are pots of money where all presidents have access to without a national emergency. There are ones he will not have access to without that declaration," Mulvaney explained to NBC's "Meet the Press."  

But some say declaring a national emergency could set a dangerous precedent.

"The danger with that is a Democrat president comes along and all of a sudden climate change is this national emergency where you have to dip into funds. It could open up a huge Pandora's box," CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody warned.

In hopes of garnering support for a wall along America's southern border, President Donald Trump is headed to El Paso, Texas, a border town he says has had great success because of its border wall.

"The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime – one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities," Trump said during his State of the Union address last week. "Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities."

And in what may be a preview for the 2020 election, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) will hold his own rally in El Paso in an attempt to highlight what he calls the "reality of the border." 

Meanwhile, once again, the fate of 800,000 federal workers hangs in the balance. 

"Seeing another shutdown on the horizon just a couple of days away I think is scary for anybody," lamented Dan McCabe, an ATC employee. 

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