Bipartisan Negotiators Finalizing Deal w. Funding for 'Physical Barriers'

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The law states that the chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means committee each have the power to request taxpayer information and states that "the secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request".

"I'd suspect that Bob Mueller and his team are looking at that already", said Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, "and hopefully it's part of a report that is submitted to us shortly".

Texas Republican Representative Kay Granger said there still were "issues to be worked out".

White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Friday morning, "We're on the verge of a government shutdown again because Democrats won't come to the table and have a conversation about securing the country". "I go back to what my colleagues said about weaponizing the tax code and we should all be concerned about that".

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby of Alabama said he hopes to wrap up negotiations by the end of the week.

The House earlier this year passed a $14.2 billion aid package for victims of hurricanes, wildfires, typhoons and other recent natural disasters; Senate Republicans unveiled their own $12.8 billion version following House passage, but it hasn't advanced to a Senate floor vote. "We will not agree to $2 billion in funding for barriers", said Evan Hollander, spokesman for House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who is leading the bipartisan talks.

If the Trump administration refused the request, "We would be in uncharted territory", Yin said. But he hinted Trump may be willing to make a deal on price.

Doggett and other Democrats were also in no mood to be castigated by the GOP. Democrats have floated $1.3 billion or $1.6 billion in border security that specifically prohibits a wall. Throughout the talks, Democrats have insisted that a border security compromise not be overly reliant on physical barriers.

Also in the mix is a key element of the Democratic proposal: $500 million in money to upgrade facilities at the border so the conditions are more humane and medically safer for asylum-seeking families and children. "The talk has been very heavy about the [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] beds", he told reporters.

Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, the subcommittee's senior Republican, accused the Democrats of gearing up to obtain the president's returns - and release them.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., a negotiator, said it was "unrealistic" to think there would be no funding for physical barriers. "And the president, I think, has embraced the idea that there may actually be something better than a concrete wall would have been anyway". "It is a fence and all that comes with it". Chuck Fleischmann, Georgia Rep. Tom Graves, and Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo, Vermont Sen.

"I remember everybody was optimistic the week before Christmas", said Sen.

"I think there's next to no appetite in the room on either side in either body, and that's a good thing".

Democratic leaders have expressed similar concerns about the willingness of Trump to sign what the conferees can produce, and what passes both chambers. It would also avert another partial federal shutdown, a Trump threat that has become toothless because of solid opposition from GOP lawmakers burned by the record 35-day closure that Trump initiated in December.

If the group is able to reach a deal, it would need to be approved by Congress and signed by the president.

Republicans have dismissed the Democratic effort as a partisan witch hunt.

"You've got to ask yourself, why doesn't he want to release them?"

Durbin said that Democrats don't rule out having some added barrier, but said the focus should be on technology to assist in drug interdiction. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" on Wednesday, "If Congress won't participate or won't go along, we'll figure out a way to do it with executive authority".

Capitol Hill negotiators are expressing cautious optimism as the deadline approaches for reaching an agreement on border security before federal funding runs out for some departments again, on February 15.