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While President Donald Trump has made securing the southern border a top priority and been insistent that barriers and walls are an integral part of border security, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been just as adamant that there is little need for additional security at the border.
The California Democrat has refused to provide any funding for the construction of border walls and barriers.
Even after the month-long partial government shutdown and standoff over requested funds for border barrier construction, Trump remains undeterred in his commitment.
In speaking of his recent border security funding proposal to Congress during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, the president said, “In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall, but the proper wall never got built. I will get it built.”
While Pelosi may remain firmly locked in her opposition to providing the president with the funding he has requested for improved border security measures — namely barriers and walls — more and more Democrats under Pelosi seem open to a compromise deal that would allow for at least some funding of border barriers and walls.
The Hill reported that Democratic New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters that he believed a bipartisan agreement was reachable — including one that would include “enhanced fencing,” another semantic way for Democrats to avoid saying “wall” — even as he took a shot at the president for continuing to demand a “medieval” border wall.
“As long as the president is willing to accept evidence-based proposals, then I think we can arrive at a bipartisan agreement,” said Jeffries. “If the president is only interested in funding a reckless political promise with respect to a medieval border wall — that will be ineffective at improving our security — then we’re going to have an issue.”
When pressed by a reporter about border barriers and fencing, Jeffries admitted, “We have supported enhanced fencing, where appropriate, in the past.”
“I think that we expect that if the evidence supports the notion for enhanced fencing moving forward, that you will find some bipartisan consensus in that regard,” he added.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries: "We have supported enhanced fencing where appropriate in the past. I think that we expect that if the evidence supports the notion for enhanced fencing moving forward, that you would find some bipartisan consensus in that regard." pic.twitter.com/4R39rprsCr
— The Hill (@thehill) February 7, 2019
It is worth noting that Jeffries is far from being considered a “moderate” Democrat who would be more open to working with the president.
Instead, Jeffries is a reliable vote for the far-left on most issues, as revealed by his voting record and the ratings and endorsements he’s received from various special interest groups.
Nor is he alone in signaling a different path than the one of obstinate obstruction laid out by Pelosi, as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has on multiple occasions suggested that he would be open to a compromise that included funding for border wall construction.
Hoyer told The Hill that he was confident a compromise would be reached prior to the Feb. 15 deadline but worried that Trump might kill the deal if it didn’t include everything he had initially requested.
Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, who hails from a border district and is part of the bipartisan negotiations, suggested that the eventual deal would include some funding for border barrier construction, though most likely not the full amount of $5.7 billion that had initially been requested.
Cuellar said he had advanced “some ideas I have about enhanced barriers.” He also said of the administration, “If they’re open-minded and they work with local communities, I think we can get moving in the right direction.”
The congressman added, “There’s a lot of things we’re already in agreement (on). And I think we can get there. You know, people just have to be a little flexible.”
Whether Pelosi takes to heart that last line about being a little more flexible remains to be seen, as does the ultimate composition of the compromise deal the negotiators are hammering out.
That said, it is looking like there will be at least some compromise in the deal, and Trump will get some funding for border barrier construction after all, despite Pelosi’s militant refusal to budge one iota on that issue over the past month or two.