Graves tweets Pelosi on wall deal

♦ As the clock ticks, a new hur­dle emerges in bor­der se­cu­rity talks

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - Staff, AP re­ports

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves is­sued a Twit­ter chal­lenge late Sun­day, urg­ing the Demo­cratic lead­er­ship in Congress to come to a com­pro­mise on bor­der se­cu­rity, as hopes for an agree­ment dimmed.

The Ranger Repub­li­can who rep­re­sents North­west Ge­or­gia is part of a bi­par­ti­san team of ne­go­tia­tors try­ing to pass a fund­ing deal by Fri­day — the dead­line set by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to avoid a sec­ond par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down.

Graves tweeted shortly af­ter 7 p.m., in­clud­ing the Twit­ter han­dles of Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for­mer speaker John Boehner and for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

“This week @Speak­erPelosi will face 1st big test in newly di­vided govt — can she pass a bill to keep our govt open that a #POTUS from the op­pos­ing party will sign? @ Speak­erBoehner found a way to work w/ @Barack­Obama. Can she find a way fwd with @RealDon­aldTrump? We’ll know soon.”

The two sides re­mained sep­a­rated by hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars over how much to spend to con­struct Trump’s promised bor­der wall. But ris­ing to the fore was a re­lated dis­pute over curb­ing Cus­toms and Im­mi­gra­tion En­force­ment, or ICE, the fed­eral agency that Repub­li­cans see as an em­blem of tough im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies and Democrats ac­cuse of of­ten go­ing too far.

Pre­dictably each side blamed the other for the stall in ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“We were, you know, pro­gress­ing well,” Graves said Sun­day morn­ing in an in­ter­view with Ge­orge Stephanopoulas on ABC. “I thought we were track­ing pretty good over the last week. And it just seems over the last 24 hours or so the goal­posts have been mov­ing from the Democrats.”

House Bud­get Com­mit­tee Chair­man John Yar­muth, D-Ky., coun­tered by telling the same show, “The num­bers are all over the place.”

“I think the big prob­lem here is this has be­come pretty much an ego ne­go­ti­a­tion,” Yar­mouth added. “And this re­ally isn’t over sub­stance.”

Ne­go­tia­tors have said that given the time re­quired un­der

House and Se­nate rules to pass leg­is­la­tion, they need to have an agree­ment fin­ished by Mon­day to guar­an­tee pas­sage by Fri­day.

The pres­i­dent has re­mained in­sis­tent in his de­mand for $5.7 bil­lion for bor­der bar­ri­ers, while Democrats, who now con­trol the House, have said they will not of­fer more than $2 bil­lion.

The two sides also dis­agree over the num­ber of beds at im­mi­grant de­ten­tion cen­ters. Repub­li­cans are con­test­ing a Demo­cratic ef­fort to re­duce the num­ber of de­ten­tions by Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment.

On Twit­ter, the pres­i­dent im­plied that Demo­cratic con­gres­sional ne­go­tia­tors were be­ing pre­vented by their lead­er­ship, Pelosi and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, from mak­ing con­ces­sions on what he called a “des­per­ately needed Bor­der Wall.”

“I don’t think the Dems on the Bor­der Com­mit­tee are be­ing al­lowed by their lead­ers to make a deal,” Trump wrote.

Be­fore the pre­vi­ous shut­down, the two par­ties did have an agree­ment, only to have it scut­tled by Trump.

Repub­li­cans also con­tin­ued to sug­gest that Trump might move to cir­cum­vent Congress with an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion on the wall, a step that would be cer­tain to face a strong le­gal chal­lenge.

Graves said on ABC that Trump was “right to have con­tin­gency plans” for mov- ing ahead in the event of a con­tin­ued stale­mate.

“He’s go­ing to have some plans in place,” Graves said.

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