In its coverage of the high-stakes negotiations taking place on Capitol Hill, the Associated Press reported at 9:40 p.m. Monday night that inside sources say a "tentative border security deal" has been reached — and it includes partial funding for President Trump's "big, beautiful wall." But, as we've come to expect in the Era of Trump, AP couldn't resist the call to present the news in a way that does as much damage to the president as it can muster.
"Budget deal calls for far less border wall money," AP blasted in its title. So just how much less is the tentative deal? $1.375 billion rather than Trump's requested $5.7 billion, which amounts to just about a quarter of what he was asking. However, any funding for the wall, which Democrats have decried as "immoral," is at least a partial victory for the president — and AP knows it.
"Three people familiar with Congress’ tentative border security deal tell The Associated Press that the accord would provide $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers," AP reports, stressing in the next line that the amount is "well below" what Trump "demanded." AP also makes sure to underscore that the money isn't paying for a "solid wall," as Trump has previously discussed, but "vertical steel slates."
"That’s well below the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump demanded to build over 200 miles of wall along the Mexican boundary. The money will be for vertical steel slats called bollards, not a solid wall," AP reports. AP chose not to note that the 55 mile-stretch is just 9 miles short of Trump's last budget request.
In exchange for the reduced border wall funding, Democrats reportedly agreed to drop their demand to restrict the number of illegal immigrants that could be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to a daily average of 16,500.
They also agreed to fund 40,250 detention beds, which sources told Politico is about a 17 percent reduction from current levels.
"We reached an agreement in principle between us on all the homeland security and the other six bills," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), one of the lead Republican negotiators, Politico reports.
While Sen. Shelby stressed the White House "has been consulted all along," he said they've been given great "latitude" to negotiate by Trump.
Politico cites one unnamed Republican source, who painted the deal as more favorable to Trump than Democrat sources claimed, saying the barrier funding can be used for "new miles of border wall" and the deal provides the possibility of meeting Trump's full request for 52,000 detention beds.
"Shelby and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said they had approval from congressional leaders, namely Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)," Politico reports. "Shelby said he was also hopeful Trump would back the agreement but would not say directly if the president had promised to do so."