White House Reportedly Offered Dems $2.5 Billion Border 'Compromise'

The Democrats already rejected a funding bill that would have provided $1.6 billion for President Trump's border wall...so in what appears to be the Republicans latest attempt at offering up a shutdown-ending "compromise", Bloomberg reported Sunday that in the hours before the Senate adjourned for Christmas - guaranteeing that a handful of government agencies would remain closed until at least Thursday - Republicans tried offering Democrats a deal that would have allocated $2.5 billion for border security, including money for border fencing and $400 million for immigration policy.

According to a Democratic legislative aide, who was the main source for the report, described the $400 million as a "slush fund."

The deal was reportedly offered by Vice President Mike Pence to Democratic leader Chuck Schumer during a Saturday afternoon meeting. At the time, the White House was standing by its commitment to only accept the full $5 billion in funding passed by the House. After the meeting, Schumer said the two sides remained "far apart" on a deal. Democrats are still insisting that they won't accept any funding for a border barrier, while Republicans say funding for a physical barrier must be part of any deal.

"If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall," Schumer said on the Senate floor on Saturday.

But the Democrats, along with some Republicans, said they couldn’t support the $5 billion sought by Trump because they said a wall was an ineffective and inefficient method of securing the border.

A senior Trump administration official told reporters on the conference call that Democrats must accept physical barriers on the border as part of any deal. Trump would be willing to negotiate the type of barrier and restrictions on where construction could occur, the official said.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi warned on Saturday that the shutdown might not be resolved until early January, when Democrats take control of the House.

Since caving would greatly undermine the Dems' pitch for 2020, where immigration policy is (like the last two elections) once again expected to loom large in the minds of voters - it's likely that this deal will be rejected (if it hasn't already been). As of now, Dems presumably have a few days to think about the offer.