President Donald Trump on Saturday is expected to offer a new deal to congressional Democrats that he hopes will draw down what’s been the longest government shutdown in US history.
CNN and CBS both report that Trump has a proposal ready that the White House believes will bring Democrats to the negotiating table. Citing an unnamed administration official, the pair of news stories suggest that the offer will include several concessions to Democrats on immigration — but that the president still won’t compromise on funding for his border wall.
Axios’s Jonathan Swan reports that in exchange for his wall, Trump will protect DREAMers by offering to temporarily shield them from deportation and grant three-year work permits through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. In addition to those measures, currently proposed in Congress as part of the BRIDGE Act, unnamed sources tell Swan that the president will support legislation to extend the legal status of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.
Trump has been steadfast in his demands for more than $5 billion to finance his passion project at the US-Mexico border. Congressional Democrats say they won’t go higher than $1.3 billion on border security as a whole, and talks between the two sides have been stunted since funding for the federal government expired on December 21, leaving 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay and the US economy in an increasingly perilous position.
The new energy comes at the urging of Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is a senior adviser at the White House. But the president’s new proposal may be a nonstarter: It wasn’t born out of negotiations with Democratic leaders, and they were previously unwilling to finance Trump’s wall in exchange for promises to protect DREAMers.
Trump is expected to make his announcement from the White House Saturday afternoon.
I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
He had previously toyed with the idea of declaring a state of emergency in order to get his border wall. That’s not what is expected to happen Saturday — but nothing is ever off the table, CNN reports.
It’s day 29 of stalled negotiations
So far, Trump’s meetings with congressional leaders have dissolved into chaotic tantrums. He’s stormed out of meetings, got into a shouting match on TV, and gone on a profanity-laden rant while repeatedly referring to the shutdown as a “strike.” He took a trip to the southern border, where he paraded Border Patrol agents as props for his photo ops pushing for the wall. And this week, he held shutdown talks with a bipartisan group of legislators, yet top Democratic leaders from the House and Senate weren’t even invited.
Trump’s deal on Saturday would be the White House’s third offer to reopen the government since the shutdown began. The president and his top advisers have offered extra money to address the humanitarian crisis at the border and have been willing to compromise on what his barrier will look like — steel slats, concrete, walls, fences. But so far, Trump has yet to budge much at all on his $5 billion asking price. Pence once floated a $2.5 billion compromise, but congressional Democrats rejected the deal after Trump himself said he refused to back down from his original offer.
Trump is not the only one who could be doing something — there are plenty of paths out of the impasse. Democrats could fold and give Trump his money. But it’s worth noting that if McConnell worked with a little more than a dozen Democrats, he could form a veto-proof majority: Senate Republicans could suck it up and get the votes together to reopen the government.