GOP drops US-Mexico wall demands as spending talks advance

Republican Senator Roger Wicker said there was a "substantial figure" in the spending bill dedicated to border security. Trump's reported comments mark a pivot from his administration's talking points over the weekend. "If the threat of the wall is removed, as I hope is the case, our negotiations can continue and we can, hopefully, resolve all of the outstanding issues by Friday". A partial shutdown would start on Saturday, Trump's 100th day in office.

Both efforts come with Congress back from a two-week break just days before Trump's 100th day in office, an unofficial measuring stick of a new president's effectiveness.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional negotiators on Tuesday inched toward a potential agreement on a catchall spending bill that would deny President Donald Trump's request for immediate funding to construct a wall along the Mexico border.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said, "The president's comments this evening are welcome news given the bipartisan opposition to the wall, and the obstacle it has been to the continuing bipartisan negotiations in the appropriations committees".

There was growing sentiment in Congress that they will need to opt for a short-term extension of current spending, possibly of one week's duration, in order to finish up negotiations on the longer-term bill for funding through the end of September. Since then leaders of conservative and moderate factions in the House have been negotiating on a compromise allowing states to opt out of certain "Obamacare" requirements, and they appear to be making progress, although legislative text had not been finalized as of Monday. Even though Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan know they'll both need Democratic votes to pass a government funding measure. Echoing the views of House GOP leaders, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there would be a vote on health care legislation when House leaders count the 216 votes needed to pass it. Lindsay Graham said. "If he wants a 2,200-mile wall, I don't think he's going to get the votes to support that".

The original GOP bill eliminated numerous "Obamacare" mandates, offered skimpier subsidies for consumers to buy care and rolled back a Medicaid expansion.

The question is how far he will go to compromise.

As the April 28 deadline to keep the federal government open fast approaches, members of the Trump administration on Monday night and Tuesday morning made conflicting statements regarding the President's demand that a temporary funding measure include money to start building a border wall.

Trump removed a crucial sticking point when he said on Monday evening that he may wait until Republicans begin drafting the budget blueprint for the fiscal year that starts on October 1 to seek funds for the wall.

Instead of demanding funding for an actual wall along the border, White House officials have floated the idea that Trump may accept some form of increased border security, such as more border agents or electronic monitoring.

Trump vowed to fight for the wall.

"It's really good news that the president seems to be taking the wall off the table", Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

  • Larry Hoffman