By Abby Anderko
After the longest government shutdown in American history, President Donald Trump reopened the government on January 25th. This temporary opening puts the Senate and House of Representatives on the clock to create new legislation that can be agreed upon in both chambers of Congress regarding a border wall before President Trump’s February 15th deadline.
To reopen the government, Trump signed a short-term spending bill, but it did not include the $5.7 million requested to fund his proposed border wall. Since the spending was the main argument between parties during the shutdown, the Republicans and the Democrats must now work together in a bipartisan conference committee comprised of 17 lawmakers from both the Senate and House of Representatives to negotiate an end result that both the Republicans and Democrats will be happy with, which will prevent the government from shutting down for a second time.
Last year, a similar committee was formed to come to an agreement on a spending bill for Homeland Security, with one aspect of the bill designating $1.6 billion to border security as well as renovations and maintenance around the pre-existing border. The creation of a larger border wall has been a topic of conversation since Trump’s presidential campaign back in 2016, with the issue of immigration taking the main stage throughout his presidency.
In his recent annual State of the Union address that occured on February 5, Trump spoke on the topic of the border, urging the committee to designate the money due to “the lawless state of our southern border,” which he went on to describe as “a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans.”
Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, stated that they have turned the discussion to professional workers to analyze and determine what form of border is needed, if one is needed at all.
“We’re going to have them up before the appropriations conference committee, and we are going to find out what they want,” said Shelby to CNN news. “I think it is not what I need or what the speaker needs or even the President need, it is what we need to secure our borders.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democratic Senator for California has been quoted saying to Senator Shelby, “whatever you all come to an agreement on, bipartisan agreement, I will support it.”
The committee continues to meet and deliberate on the topic of border security and the wall, and will do so until they reach a decision or until the February 15th deadline.