Washington – Congressional negotiators worked Friday for an agreement on border security amid indications that the White House is preparing to accept a bipartisan pact that would give President Donald Trump a fraction of the money he has demanded for erect a wall on the border with Mexico .
The participants said that the money for the physical barriers is much less than the $ 5.7 billion that Trump has requested to begin the construction of his wall , which has acquired an iconic meaning for him and his conservative supporters.
In a sign of the bargaining power that has been lost during a confrontation that has dominated the first weeks in which the Democrats have exercised the majority in the House of Representatives , it seems certain that the amount will be much closer to 1,600 million dollars, said the participants, a figure that appeared in a bipartisan bill in the Senate last year.
“We are working for that,” said Democratic representative Lucille Roybal-Allard , one of the negotiators.
If an agreement is reached it would also avoid falling into a new partial government closure next weekend. Trump has warned that it could cause a new closure in the agencies if he does not get his way, but that threat has been left without real bases due to the strong opposition of the Republican legislators worn out by the record 35-day government shutdown that he initiated. in December.
A White House adviser said Trump is expected to back any negotiated solution that comes up, and acknowledged that Republican lawmakers are not willing to accept another shutdown. The advisor spoke on condition of anonymity to be able to describe the internal conversations.
Along with a widespread expectation that the term “wall” will not be used in the agreement , the pact would represent a significant retreat for Trump , for which the slogan “build the wall!” Has been a battle cry from its Presidential campaign.
The Democrats seemed to draw a firm line on the level of spending.
“During all the talks, the Democrats have insisted that a negotiated solution to border security does not lean too much on physical barriers,” said Evan Hollander , a spokesman for the Democrats who control the Budget Appropriations Commission . “We will not accede to a financing of 2 billion dollars for barriers”.
In another indication that Trump was reluctantly preparing to give ground, the White House has been weighing to accept the agreement, but also to use a decree to secure additional funding for barriers without the approval of lawmakers. The plan was described by two people aware of the plans of the White House that spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to declare publicly.
According to what Trump does, such an action could unleash lawsuits or votes of disapproval in Congress.