The latest updates from our Washington DC insider
President Trump’s schedule (EST):
8:00 AM: Speaks at the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast;
11:45 AM: Daily intelligence briefing;
12:45 PM: Lunch with Secretary of State Pompeo; and
1:45 PM: Signs a Memorandum to Launch the “Women’s Global Development and Prosperity” Initiative.
Next Monday, President Trump will speak on border security from El Paso, TX.
“Congressional negotiators seek contours of border deal as shutdown looms.” Last night’s Washington Post article led with:
Congressional negotiators worked toward a deal Wednesday that could increase fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border without delivering President Trump the wall money he wants, as pressure built to reach agreement ahead of a government shutdown deadline next week.
A bipartisan committee of House and Senate lawmakers traded offers behind the scenes, with Democrats saying money for border barriers was on the table and Republicans acknowledging they won’t get Trump the $5.7 billion he has sought for his wall.
Lawmakers hope to have a tentative deal by Friday or soon thereafter, to allow time for the legislation to pass the House and Senate by Feb. 15. That’s when funding will run out for a large portion of the federal government, causing another partial shutdown, if Congress and Trump don’t act first.
I remain guardedly optimistic that Congress will produce a compromise that will avoid another government shutdown. The key will be finessing The Wall funding. If President Trump doesn’t find that acceptable, then it will be up to Senate Majority Leader McConnell to decide whether to override a veto.
Speaker Pelosi will support whatever bipartisan deal the conferees report. This morning’s The Hill article, at the end, reported:
Pelosi said she urged Pence, who sat next to her during Tuesday’s State of the Union, to keep the White House from interfering in the border security talks.
“I spoke to the Vice President and I told him that I hope that the White House will have the same hands-off policy as I have vis-a-vis the appropriators. Let them come to their own conclusion,” Pelosi said.
“I spoke with Sen. Shelby I told him whatever you all come to agreement on, bipartisan agreement, I will support,” Pelosi said. “I hope that the administration would have the same attitude and respect for the appropriations process.”
This isn’t any concession on Mrs. Pelosi’s part. The key will be whether conference committee Republicans can get Jared Kushner and the White House to back any compromise, and, after that, whether President Trump balks.
“Mulvaney invites bipartisan group of lawmakers to Camp David.” Tuesday afternoon’s Politico scoop led with:
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has invited a small bipartisan group of lawmakers to Camp David on Friday for what administration aides are describing as a casual gathering.
It’s the second time in recent weeks that Mulvaney has invited lawmakers to Camp David, although this is the first session that includes Democrats, according to administration officials.