By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on Monday introduced legislation designed to implement President Donald Trump’s announced compromise proposal on reopening the government and putting money toward a border wall.
The comprehensive appropriations package contains the remaining seven bills funding the government through Fiscal Year 2019, the full $5.7 billion for the president’s border security request, $12.7 billion in disaster supplemental funding to assist with recent wildfires and hurricanes, and a handful of immigration reforms meant to begin a starting point for negotiations with Democrats who have opposed Trump’s wall proposal.
Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the plan is a product of ongoing negotiations to reopen the government.
“The President has proposed a serious compromise to end this shutdown. It would not only fund the government and secure the border, but also provide immigration reforms the Democrats have long supported,” Shelby said in a statement releasing the details of the bill.
“For the good of the country, I encourage my Democratic colleagues to either join us in passing this legislation or come to the negotiating table with constructive solutions of their own. Saying no to everything will not move our country forward.”
The bill would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to implement the BRIDGE Act, which would grant a three year “provisional protected” status to the estimated 700,000 foreign nationals who were brought to the United States as children and have sought protection through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. That same three-year protection would be granted for the estimated 300,000 immigrants whose Temporary Protected Status is facing expiration.
The full text of the “End The Shutdown and Secure the Border Act is available online HERE.
Voting on the proposal is not expected to until later in the week. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority but would need some Democrats to reach the usual 60-vote threshold for bills to advance. Not a single Democrat publicly expressed support for the deal in the 48 hours since Trump announced it.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer’s office reiterated earlier Monday that Democrats are unwilling to negotiate any border security funding until Trump re-opens the government.
“Nothing has changed with the latest Republican offer,” said Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman. “President Trump and Senate Republicans are still saying: ‘Support my plan or the government stays shut.’ That isn’t a compromise or a negotiation — it’s simply more hostage taking.”
While the House and Senate are scheduled to be back in session Tuesday, no votes have been scheduled so far on Trump’s plan. And senators, who will be given 24-hour notice ahead of voting, have yet to be recalled to Washington.
McConnell spokesman David Popp said Monday that the GOP leader “will move” to vote on consideration of the president’s proposal “this week.”
Trump, who on Sunday lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing her of acting “irrationally,” continued to single her out on Twitter.
“If Nancy Pelosi thinks that Walls are ‘immoral,’ why isn’t she requesting that we take down all of the existing Walls between the U.S. and Mexico,” he wrote Monday. “Let millions of unchecked ‘strangers’ just flow into the U.S.”
House Democrats this week are pushing ahead with voting on their own legislation to re-open the government and add $1 billion for border security —including 75 more immigration judges and infrastructure improvements — but no funding for the wall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.