The White House has signaled a willingness to accept a lower level of homeland security funding for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border than it originally requested, CQ reported Wednesday night, a potential small first step in breaking an appropriations stalemate that could stretch into 2020.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chair of the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, said it was her “understanding” that the White House would settle for less in the homeland security spending bill but only if Congress lets President Trump keep what he considers an authority to move military construction money to the border wall. Democrats maintain he does not have such authority.
The same issue is the main sticking point in National Defense Authorization Act negotiations.
Appropriators and the White House have tentatively agreed to a continuing resolution to keep the government open through Dec. 20 in hopes lawmakers can finish all 12 spending bills by the end of the year, but CQ reported that another backup plan may be shaping up.
“My understanding is everybody’s going to really work hard to try to get it done by [Dec.] 20th, but they are also talking about another CR into February,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, according to CQ.
Marine Corps photo of Sen. Susan Collins by Cpl. Samantha K. Braun