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Thu Dec 6, 2018, 09:13 AM

'A big problem': Congress bickers over what makes a border wall

Lawmakers are fighting over the definition of a ‘wall’ as the shutdown deadline approaches.


Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on the definition of a border wall — let alone the project itself — and the rift could lead to a partial government shutdown later this month.

Senators came to a bipartisan agreement this summer to provide $1.6 billion for 65 miles of a beefed-up barrier along the Southwest border. While not enough for President Donald Trump, the deal marked a breakthrough on an otherwise intractable fight over the president’s chief campaign promise.

But now the two parties can’t even agree on whether the $1.6 billion is for Trump’s wall or not. The legislation seems to purposefully avoid addressing Trump’s vision of a massive concrete border wall, instead using the word “fencing” and limiting repairs to “currently deployed fencing design along the southern border.”

That has led Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to argue that the bill gives Trump zero dollars for the “wall” and instead provides for “border security,” even as some progressives urge the Senate to abandon the deal. In the face of Schumer’s stance, Republicans are defending the $1.6 billion pact as giving the president exactly what he’s requesting, worried that may be all that can get through the Senate and that anything more would lead to a shutdown just days before Christmas.


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