$1*/ mo hosting! Everything you need to succeed online with us!

No Sign of Compromise in Dueling Addresses

President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress made clear Tuesday in nationally televised remarks that while each side supports border security efforts, they remain far apart on the scale and cost of what those measures should be.

The standoff has closed one quarter of the federal government since December 22.  

Watch President Trump’s address:

Trump said in his address from the White House Oval Office it is up to Democrats to “pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government.”  He suggested the issue could be resolved in a quick meeting, and that he has invited leaders in Congress to talks Wednesday.

In their joint response to Trump’s speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pointed to a number of spending bills lawmakers have already passed that would reopen the government and provide money for border security.  They say the shutdown continues only because Trump refuses to drop his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border that they say would be expensive and ineffective.

Watch the Democratic response:

Trump in his speech sought to make a case that not having a wall is putting Americans at risk of being victims of violence at the hands of people who enter the country illegally, and endangering them by allowing large amounts of illegal drugs to cross the border.

“Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now,” Trump said.  “This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.”

He said hundreds more people are killed each year by drugs, particularly heroin, most of which, he said, comes into the United States through the southwestern border.

An October 2018 report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency detailed the prevalence and source of a number of drugs, including those Trump mentioned Tuesday — heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine.  In each case, the report said the vast majority of the drugs comes in through existing points of entry, most commonly in cars, which would not be stopped by a border wall.

Trump accused Democrats of not acknowledging what he calls the “crisis” at the border and says they refuse to support funding for border security and what he calls the “common sense” wall.

He said his administration’s proposal also includes technology upgrades to detect drugs and weapons, money to hire more border agents and to increase the number of beds available to house those detained trying to cross the border.

Democrats largely agree with those types of measures, and in their bills have backed spending $1.3 billion for scanning equipment and adding more border personnel.  Pelosi on Tuesday called those proposals “smart, effective border security solutions.”

But she said it is “just plain wrong” for Trump to keep the government shut down because of the wall funding dispute.

“The fact is, the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge — a challenge that President Trump’s own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened,” Pelosi said.  “And the fact is, President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.”

While the standoff continues, some 800,000 federal employees are furloughed or working without pay.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

AP Fact Check: Trump Oversells Wall as a Solution to Drugs

In his prime-time speech to the nation, President Donald Trump wrongly accused Democrats of refusing to pay for border security and ignored the reality of how illicit drugs come into the country as he pitched his wall as a solution to trafficking.

A look at his Oval Office remarks Tuesday night:

TRUMP: “Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border.”

THE FACTS: A wall can’t do much about that when drug trafficking is concentrated at land ports of entry, not remote stretches of the border.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says “only a small percentage” of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry. The same is true of drugs generally.

In a November report, the agency said the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers as they drive into the U.S. though entry ports, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. They also employ buses, cargo trains and tunnels, the report says, citing other smuggling methods that also would not be choked off by a border wall.

Trump recently denied that traffickers use entry ports at the southern border, contradicting the evidence and assertions of his drug enforcement personnel.

Trump stretched credulity even more by comparing the wall money he wants from Congress to the cost of the entire drug problem in the U.S.: “The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress.”

TRUMP: “Democrats will not fund border security.”

THE FACTS:  That’s not true. They just won’t fund it the way he wants. They have refused his demand for $5.7 billion to build part of a steel wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats passed legislation the day they took control of the House that offered $1.3 billion for border security, including physical barriers and technology along the U.S. southern border.

Senate Democrats have approved similar funding year after year.

Democrats have also supported broader fence-building as part of deals that also had a path to legal status for millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

In 2013, Senate Democrats voted for a failed immigration bill that provided roughly $46 billion for a number of border security measures — including new fencing — but that legislation would have created a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act had money to double the number of miles of fencing, to 700 miles (1,126 km), as well as for more border patrol agents. It also had a mandatory employment verification system to ensure all U.S. employees are authorized to work in the country. In exchange, however, the bill allowed immigrants living in the country illegally to apply for a provisional legal status if they paid a $500 fine and had no felony convictions.

As well many Democrats voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which has resulted in the construction of about 650 miles (1,050 kilometers) of border barrier. But that legislation didn’t authorize the kind of wall Trump has long been advocating since he launched his campaign.

TRUMP: “The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”

THE FACTS: Mexico is not paying for the wall despite what Trump promised during the 2016 campaign, and nothing in the trade agreement would cover or refund the construction cost.

Trump is assuming a wide variety of economic benefits will come from the agreement, but they can’t be quantified or counted on. For example, he has said the deal will dissuade some U.S. companies from moving operations to Mexico and he credits that possibility as a payment by Mexico for his wall.

The deal updates the North American Free Trade Agreement, in the main preserving NAFTA’s liberalized environment of low or no tariffs among the U.S., Mexico and Canada, while making certain improvements for each country. Trump stated inaccurately that it’s “brand new. It’s totally different.”

Moreover, it’s not in effect. The deal has yet to be ratified in any member country and its chances of winning legislative approval are not assured.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Pelosi, Schumer Respond to Trump Address on Border Security

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer provide the Democratic response to President Trump’s address about funding a wall on the U.S. southern border.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Julian Castro Vows to Champion Health Care, Housing During 2020 Bid

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro introduced himself to Iowa Democrats on Monday night as a champion for universal health care and affordable housing as he indicated he was close to launching a run for the presidency.

 

Castro spoke with party activists at a crowded house party in North Liberty after forming an exploratory committee last month. Castro said that he would announce his presidential campaign on Saturday in San Antonio and that he looked forward to meeting with Iowa voters before the first-in-the-nation caucuses next year.

 

Castro said that he would lay out his vision for making the United States “the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest and the most prosperous nation in the world.” He said that his plans will include expanding Medicare to allow access for all and addressing what he called a housing affordability crisis in which rising rents are squeezing the poor and middle class.

Castro, who served as the nation’s housing secretary during President Barack Obama’s second term, also promised that he will not accept money from political action committees tied to corporations and unions.

“What you’re going to hear from me is that I’m not taking that PAC money, that I support universal health care, and that I’ve shown in my time in public service an ability to stand with the people instead of the special interests, and I’ve taken action to do that,” said Castro, 44.

 

Castro shook hands, spoke and fielded questions for an hour as guests sipped wine from plastic cups. He received a warm welcome from the activists, who said they were eager for someone who could defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. North Liberty is a fast-growing bedroom community that’s located near Iowa City in Johnson County, which has long been the state’s liberal stronghold.

 

Castro’s visit was the latest activity in Iowa as the field of candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination begins to take shape. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts visited the state over the weekend after forming her own exploratory committee, and several more candidates are expected to join the race soon.

 

Castro acknowledged that some Democrats will view his and other candidates’ decisions to not accept PAC money as tantamount to “bringing a knife to a gun fight.” But he said that the Democratic nominee will have no problem raising money from individuals who want change and that the decision sends an important message.

 

“I think it says something, that if a candidate doesn’t take that money, they’re going to work for you,” he said. “If I’m elected, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Democrats Tour Border Warn Trump Against Diverting Funds for Wall

A Congressional delegation of Democrats touring a Border Patrol facility in New Mexico on Monday warned President Donald Trump against circumventing Congress and diverting already appropriated money towards building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“He can expect a strong and swift challenge from all of us and other members of Congress, and from the American people,” said U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro, when asked about Trump’s planned address to the nation and his visit to the border on Thursday.

Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, is leading a Congressional delegation visiting the Border Patrol facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico to investigate the death of 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, the second child to die in December after being apprehended crossing the border illegally.

Democrats, who now control the U.S. House of Representatives, have rejected the Republican president’s demand for $5.7 billion to help build a wall. Without a deal on that sticking point, talks to fund the government — now in the 17th day of a shutdown — have stalled.

Trump has vowed not to back off his 2016 campaign promise to build a wall that he believes will stem illegal immigration and drug trafficking. He promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused to do so.

Democrats in Congress say a wall would be expensive, inefficient and immoral.

In New Mexico, Border Patrol agents walked the Congressional delegation through the holding areas of the Alamogordo station, which Representative Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, said were “miraculously” empty.

Castro said the Border Patrol did not provide a report about Gomez’s death nor did they tour the hospital where he was treated for a cold and then released with a prescription for antibiotics and ibuprofen. The boy died shortly after his release.

“We know that CBP is woefully under equipped in terms of its standards of medical care, but we also need to find out whether the doctors in the hospital – how responsible they were in terms of that case,” Castro said.

The Border Patrol itself has said their facilities are not properly equipped to hold families, Castro said. “I think all of us who look at what they have here believe that that is true.”

U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar, a Democrat from El Paso, said the area where Gomez and his father turned themselves over to Border Patrol is on American soil and already fenced.

“The wall only pushes people out to more dangerous, treacherous crossings, creating even more death,” she said.

Illegal crossings at the southern border have dropped dramatically since the late 1970s, but in recent years more Central American families and unaccompanied children are migrating to the United States. Many are released after turning themselves into border agents and requesting asylum, a legal process that can take years to resolve in U.S. immigration courts.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

White House Paints Crisis at Border, Considers Declaring National Emergency 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing hard to portray the southern border with Mexico as an imminent “humanitarian and national security crisis” to win support for border wall funding in a fight with lawmakers that has brought the country to an 18-day partial government shutdown.

Trump is set to make that case to the nation in a televised address Tuesday, before traveling to the border on Thursday.

Ahead of the speech, Vice President Mike Pence briefed reporters Monday, stressing that there is a “bona fide crisis” at the border, and blaming Democrats for “refusing to negotiate” to reopen the government.

Pence was joined by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who said that status quo funding and laws are “not able to address the crisis that we’re seeing at the border.”

Democrats and several immigration advocates say the administration’s representation of the issue is inaccurate, and accuse it of manufacturing a crisis for the political purpose of building the border wall, which Trump campaigned for as a presidential candidate in 2016.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement late Monday calling for television networks to give Democrats a chance to respond to Trump’s speech, saying that his history suggests the address “will be full of malice and misinformation.”

They also said the president needs to accept that his wall plan does not have sufficient support in Congress.

“Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans in Congress have repeatedly urged the President and Leader McConnell to end the Trump Shutdown and re-open the government while Congress debates the President’s expensive and ineffective wall,” Pelosi and Schumer said.

Within the past two weeks, Democratic leadership visited the White House twice to negotiate a deal with the president, and failed. They said that weekend negotiations on border security also failed to show progress.

National emergency?

The White House is looking into the legality of declaring a national emergency at the border to begin wall construction without congressional approval. In his briefing, Pence said Trump continues to weigh the idea but has yet to make a decision.

There is no end in sight for the shutdown that has halted a quarter of U.S. government operations since Dec. 22 and forced some 800,000 federal employees to be furloughed or work without pay.

Asked at what point workers’ pain outweighs the president’s desire for a border barrier, Pence said the administration understands the burden faced by government workers but hopes “we don’t find out.” 

Responding to Democrats’ request, the Office of Management and Budget sent a revised estimate for the proposals for wall funding to the U.S. Senate’s Appropriations Committee. 

Along with $5.6 billion for the wall, the administration has called for another $800 million for “urgent humanitarian needs” to take care of migrants at the border.

Tax refunds will be paid

Russell Vought, OMB’s acting director, said tax refunds for Americans will be processed and will not be considered “non-accepted activities” during the shutdown. 

“We are making this as painless as possible, consistent with the law,” he said.

Democrats plan to start passing legislation aimed at funding individual agencies that have been shuttered, in particular the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service.

Pelosi called it “an action necessary to make sure working families received their tax refunds on schedule.”

Trump has said he opposes a piecemeal approach that does not resolve his demand for a wall. 

Concrete or steel?

Opposition Democrats have refused Trump’s demand for wall funding, but offered $1.3 billion in new spending for border security.

Semantics may provide negotiating room over the impasse, as Democrats appear more amenable to approving money for “fencing” rather than a “wall” and Trump is now saying he would agree to a steel barrier instead of a concrete wall. On Dec. 21 he tweeted a photograph of a “steel slat barrier” he called “totally effective while at the same time beautiful!” 

“If in fact a compromise emerges, it will be over a change in some of the rhetoric,” said Steven Billet, legislative affairs program director at the George Washington University. He added that once “we start talking about border security as an alternative, we may be able to find a way to provide some funding that is satisfactory to the president and House Democrats.”

Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump said, “I think we are probably talking about steel, because I really feel the other side feels better about it, and I can understand what they are saying.”

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Trump Backer Arrested After Fracas at Warren Rally in Iowa

A Minnesota supporter of President Donald Trump is facing a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a weekend altercation at an Iowa rally for Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Photos from Warren’s rally Saturday in Storm Lake show 58-year-old Randal Thom, of Lakefield, Minnesota, carrying a sign that read “Keep America Great”— which was a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” 2016 campaign slogan.

Police say Thom was involved in an argument with supporters of the Massachusetts senator that turned physical, and that some punches were thrown. There were no injuries and no one else was arrested.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Thom and attempts to reach him for comment Monday weren’t successful.

Warren’s trip to Iowa offered a first glimpse of what she may look like as a candidate for president if she runs in 2020.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Trump Sets Immigration Speech, Trip to US-Mexico Border

U.S. President Donald Trump says he is addressing the nation Tuesday about the “humanitarian and national security crisis” on the country’s U.S.-Mexican border before traveling there Thursday for a firsthand look at efforts to thwart illegal immigration.

Trump announced the prime-time nationally televised address Monday shortly after news secretary Sarah Sanders said the U.S. leader would “meet with those on the frontlines” of controlling access across the 3,200-kilometer border with Mexico. She said more details of the trip would be announced soon.

Trump’s visit to the border would come in the midst of what is now a 17-day partial government shutdown centering on a dispute over his demand for more than $5 billion in funding to build a barrier to block migrants, most of them from Central American countries, from crossing into the United States.

Opposition Democrats have blocked funding for the wall, but offered $1.3 billion in new spending for border security.

There was no end in sight Monday for the shutdown that has halted about a quarter of U.S. government operations since December 22nd.

Trump, however, now is saying he would agree to a steel barrier instead of a concrete wall he has long vowed to build.

Trump said again Monday that he could declare a national emergency to build the wall without approval from lawmakers, but added on Twitter, “Let’s get our deal done in Congress!

Trump’s tweet referenced Democratic Congressman Adam Smith, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, citing him as saying there is a provision in the law that allows the president to declare an emergency. Later on CNN, however, Smith said that declaring an emergency would be “horrible policy” and a “terrible idea,” and that the president would be challenged in court if he sought to build the wall without congressional authorization.

​The Trump administration called for approval of $5.7 billion for the wall, along with another $800 million for “urgent humanitarian needs” to take care of migrants arriving at the border trying to enter the United States.

But Democrats opposed to Trump’s demand for the wall said there was no progress in talks over the weekend over how to resolve the border security issue and reopen the government.

Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to starting passing legislation aimed at funding individual agencies that have been shuttered, but the president says he is opposed to a piecemeal approach that does not resolve his demand for a wall. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in new border security funding, but nothing for a wall.

As a new work week began in the United States, about 380,000 government workers remained furloughed, while another 420,000 were deemed essential and required to work with no idea when they will receive their next paycheck. In past U.S. government shutdowns, the workers were paid retroactively once the funding impasses were resolved and Washington officials expect the same thing will occur again this time.

Trump said Sunday he can “relate” to the workers missing paychecks starting this week, but said he expects the 800,000 workers “that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. People understand what’s going on.”

He said, “Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing,” although there has been no survey of government workers’ views on Trump’s wall proposal. Some border security officials said they agree with his demand for a wall.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a priority would be to reopen the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, “an action necessary to make sure working families received their tax refunds on schedule.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a previous House package that would have funded most of the agencies through the end of September and the Department of Homeland Security for a month to allow for further border security negotiations. McConnell called the plan a “non-starter,” saying it was a waste of time for the Senate to vote on any shutdown-related legislation that Trump opposes.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called on McConnell to bring the new set of bills reopening individual agencies to a Senate vote once they pass the House.

“They are essentially the same funding bills that the Republican Senate wrote and approved by a 92-6 margin during the last Congress,” Hoyer said in a statement Sunday.

Trump contends the wall is needed to stop migrants from illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, as well as preventing drug trafficking and terrorism.

Democrats say the wall is immoral and would be an ineffective and expensive effort.

Trump said Sunday that if Democrats are willing to make a deal, one could be reached “in 20 minutes if they want to.”

Otherwise, Trump said, the shutdown is “going to go on for a long time.”

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Partial US Government Shutdown Enters 17th Day

The partial U.S. government shutdown entered its 17th day Monday with no end in sight.

President Donald Trump is still demanding more than $5 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to thwart illegal immigration before reopening the quarter of the government that has been closed since December 22nd. Trump, however, now is saying he would agree to a steel barrier instead of a concrete wall he has long vowed to build.

Trump said again Monday that he could declare a national emergency to build the wall without approval from lawmakers, but added on Twitter, “Let’s get our deal done in Congress!”

Trump’s tweet referenced Democratic Congressman Adam Smith, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Trump cited him as saying there is a provision in the law that allows the president to declare an emergency. Later on CNN, Smith said that declaring an emergency would be “horrible policy” and a “terrible idea.” Smith said the president would be challenged in court.

​The Trump administration called for approval of $5.7 billion for the wall, along with another $800 million for “urgent humanitarian needs” to take care of migrants arriving at the border trying to enter the United States.

But Democrats opposed to Trump’s demand for the wall said there was no progress in talks over the weekend over how to resolve the border security issue and reopen the government.

Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to starting passing legislation aimed at funding individual agencies that have been shuttered, but the president says he is opposed to a piecemeal approach that does not resolve his demand for a wall. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in new border security funding, but nothing for a wall.

As a new work week began in the United States, about 380,000 government workers remained furloughed, while another 420,000 were deemed essential and required to work with no idea when they will receive their next paycheck. In past U.S. government shutdowns, the workers were paid retroactively once the funding impasses were resolved and Washington officials expect the same thing will occur again this time.

Trump said Sunday he can “relate” to the workers missing paychecks starting this week, but said he expects the 800,000 workers “that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. People understand what’s going on.”

He said, “Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing,” although there has been no survey of government workers’ views on Trump’s wall proposal. Some border security officials said they agree with his demand for a wall.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a priority would be to reopen the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, “an action necessary to make sure working families received their tax refunds on schedule.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a previous House package that would have funded most of the agencies through the end of September and the Department of Homeland Security for a month to allow for further border security negotiations. McConnell called the plan a “non-starter,” saying it was a waste of time for the Senate to vote on any shutdown-related legislation that Trump opposes.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called on McConnell to bring the new set of bills reopening individual agencies to a Senate vote once they pass the House.

“They are essentially the same funding bills that the Republican Senate wrote and approved by a 92-6 margin during the last Congress,” Hoyer said in a statement Sunday.

Trump contends the wall is needed to stop migrants, mostly from Central American countries, from illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, as well as preventing drug trafficking and terrorism.

Democrats say the wall is immoral and would be an ineffective and expensive effort.

Trump said Sunday that if Democrats are willing to make a deal, one could be reached “in 20 minutes if they want to.”

Otherwise, Trump said, the shutdown is “going to go on for a long time.”

 

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

US Government Shutdown, Funding Impasse Drag On

The U.S government is partially closed for a third week with no end in sight as President Donald Trump resolutely demands funding for wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border and Democratic lawmakers continue to rule it out. VOA’s Michael Bowman has this report.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

    $.99* .COM Domain! You be you with us!     Web Hosting $3.95