US government shutdown deal close as Trump says we're building the wall anyway

February 12, 2019

Democrats and Republicans have reached a compromise deal to avoid another US government shutdown.

The deal includes a measure to partially finance construction of Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

The US government already endured a 35-day shutdown that ended last month.

News of the breakthrough came as Mr Trump told a rally in Texas "we're building the wall anyway".

Addressing the faithful in El Paso, the president said he had chosen to be with them, rather than stay in Washington as members of Congress tried to reach a deal.

"We probably have some good news but who knows... the wall is being built," he told the rally.

He added: "They said that progress is being made with this committee... Just so you know, we're building the wall anyway."

The president made several jibes at Beto O'Rourke, the Democrat who is considering standing for the White House, and who was holding a rally nearby.

Mr Trump falsely claimed his rival had only attracted a crowd of 200-300, rather than several thousands.

Mr O'Rourke in turn accused Trump of stoking "false fear" about immigrants and telling "lies" about the crime levels in his hometown El Paso.

The president was repeatedly interrupted by protesters, who were removed by security.

Mr Trump at one stage had to pause and ask if members of the press were "okay" after a man pushed journalists and their equipment, according to US media. It is not known if he was a member of the rally or a protester.

The lively events of the rally came as Democrats and Republicans announced a tentative deal had been reached to avoid another government shutdown.

A significantly reduced funding pot for Mr Trump's US-Mexico border has been earmarked by negotiators - with Congress only willing to come up with a quarter of the $5.7bn (£4bn) the White House had asked for.

The $1.4bn (£1bn) fund would means 55 miles of new fencing consisting of metal slats rather than concrete could be erected. The White House has previously demanded 215 miles.

Money has also been set aside for technology such as advanced screening at border entry point, the Democrat's demand for humanitarian aid, and additional customs officers.

"We reached an agreement in principle," said Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Richard Shelby.

"Our staffs are just working out the details," said house appropriations committee chairwoman Nita Lowey.

Details will not be officially released until Tuesday and Mr Trump could still veto the agreement.

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