Speaker Pelosi: No wall money in U.S. border deal talks
CGTN

U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats on Thursday hardened their positions over a wall being built on the border with Mexico, raising new doubts over their ability to reach a deal just as negotiations were getting underway.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters: “There's not going to be any wall money in the legislation” to fund border security for the rest of this year.

Instead, Pelosi said funding for more ports of entry or additional border security technology was open for negotiation. She added that the 17 House and Senate negotiators should decide the components of the nation's border security.

But the Democratic negotiators went a step further from Pelosi's prohibition on wall funds, unveiling a detailed opening position containing no money for any type of additional physical barriers on the border to control the flow of undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs.

Previously, Democrats have supported 1.3 billion dollars for new border fencing this year or improvements to existing fencing.

Asked by reporters about Pelosi's comment on wall funding, Trump, a Republican, said: “Without a wall, it doesn't work.”

Congress has a February 15 deadline for coming up with a new plan for further securing the southwestern border.

Agents of El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol conduct a Mobile Field Force training exercise in the Anapra area of Sunland Park, New Mexico, as seen from the Mexican side of the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, January 31, 2019. /VCG Photo

Agents of El Paso Sector U.S. Border Patrol conduct a Mobile Field Force training exercise in the Anapra area of Sunland Park, New Mexico, as seen from the Mexican side of the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, January 31, 2019. /VCG Photo

The bipartisan conference committee of House and Senate lawmakers held a public session on Wednesday with the goal of producing a deal in about a week so it could be voted on by both chambers by the deadline.

Democratic leaders have called on Trump to stand aside and let the negotiators do their work as a way of fostering success.

Ignoring that advice, Trump issued a series of tweets on Thursday predicting failure and sounding alarms.

“More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans,” Trump tweeted. In another tweet, he declared Democrats were becoming the party of “open borders and crime.”

U.S. officials said on Thursday that the U.S. military is set to deploy 3,500 troops to its mission at the border with Mexico, bringing the politically charged deployment back to near its peak level of about 5,900 in November, if only briefly.

The figure was disclosed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, who slammed senior Pentagon officials for failing to disclose that information during a hearing before his committee in Congress on the issue on Tuesday.

(Cover: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives to sign legislation during an enrollment ceremony before sending it to U.S. President Donald Trump for his signature to end the partial government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. /Reuters Photo )

Source(s): Reuters