As things stand now, a House and Senate conference committee is the only hope Democrats and Republicans can reach agreement on border security and avoid another government shutdown.

Negotiations are ostensibly between Republicans and Democrats. But well-informed Republicans believe it is another set of talks — internal talks among Democrats — that will determine whether the committee succeeds and a shutdown is averted.

Byron York is a nationally syndicated columnist.

(48) comments

Emile Pope

Perhaps they should fact check opinion pieces...this is totally misleading...

Carlos Ponce

What is "misleading", Emile?

Carlos Ponce

Representative Henry Cuellar (D) doesn't want a wall. He wants an "enhanced barrier". They are the same thing. It still keeps out those who would enter the country illegally. Fine. Produce a bill with funding for an "enhanced barrier". It's what the border agents want. It's what President Trump has asked for. It's what is needed.
As the bard wrote, "What's in a name?" That which we call a "wall" by any other name would still keep illegals out - as well as drug traffickers - and child traffickers - and sex traffickers, etc..

Bailey Jones

As my Republican friends always remind me, seemingly intractable and unreasonable positions are all just part of the "art of the deal". And Donald Trump was elected due to his amazing track record as the greatest negotiator of all time and his amazing brain. So, I'm sure they'll work it out. It's not likely that a reality TV star with zero political experience is going to get snookered by a seasoned old political pro like Nancy, is it?

Carlos Ponce

Does Bailey consider wanting a border wall/barrier/ fence a "seemingly intractable and unreasonable position" even though it's what those who patrol the border say is needed?

Bailey Jones

Actually, Carlos, I was referring to Pelosi's seemingly intractable positions, but since you asked... A majority of Americans want a comprehensive solution to border security. I know you like polling data, so here's some: https://www.npr.org/2018/01/23/580037717/what-the-latest-immigration-polls-do-and-dont-say

A physical barrier will always need to be part of the solution, but that's all it will ever be - part of the solution. If you want to stop drugs, most drugs come in thru ports, so a wall will help, but it's not the solution (more tech, more screening, more lanes is the solution). If you want to address the refugee asylum problem, refugees can only request asylum at ports of entry, so the wall isn't the solution. If you want to stop illegal immigration - most illegal immigrants come here legally and overstay their visas, and the wall will do nothing to fix that, although it will certainly have some effect on the smaller amount of illegal immigration that walks across the border. So, sure - we need a wall. But walls can be climbed over and tunneled under, so even where you have a wall you won't have security. You still need more tech and more boots. The problem with Trump's "wall" is that 1) a majority of Americans don't like him, and 2) it's an idiotic simpleminded proposal that doesn't solve any of the problems he used to justify it. Hop on the "comprehensive immigration solution" train with rest of the country and let's solve this problem.

Carlos Ponce

"I know you like polling data..." You know I believe all polls are seriously FLAWED.
And one does not take a poll to do what is best for the country. A LEADER takes initiative on doing the RIGHT THING.
The wall is but one part of Trump's plan.
" But walls can be climbed over and tunneled under....."
If you were better informed you would know that Trump's proposed wall/barrier/ fence has sensors to detect such.
"We will build a great wall along the Southern Border. On day one we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall. We will use the best technology including above and below ground sensors - that's the tunnels. Remember that: above and below ground sensors. Plus aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels." August 31, 2016 Phoenix speech
And the military special forces could not climb over the prototypes.

George Croix

Donald Trump was elected because he wasn't Hillary Clinton with the Third Term she promised, and, even more importantly, because he took time to go get a Big Mac in Wisconsin....Trumpisms to the contrary aside.....[beam][beam]
Hillary is to Nancy as Betty White is to Ronda Rousey....
The Pres. better take the situation of dealing with someone tough in deed versus tough of mouth seriously....and add in dealing with a person who has avoided, to date, despite the odds, being tossed under the bus...twice....

Anyway, this particular issue has enough intractable and unreasonable to go around for everybody either way, but only one way reversal of previous courses.....

"Mr. President, we will NOT negotiate until the shutdown is ended!!"
Well, ball's in their possession now.....so far, only delay of game......

George Croix

Nancy behind her wall but denying others as 'immoral' and 'don't work' reminds me of all the elites with 24/7 armed security guards surrounding them saying my family and others have no 'need' for firearms.....

Paula Flinn

People deliberately not “seeing the difference” between someone privately locking their doors and walling off their property & a group of people taking others property and destroying their livelihood by walling off a whole country—just astounding!

George Croix

Interstate highway system.
Ya still mad at Ike, PF????
Happy to be losing a hundred BILLION or so every year...for nothing....[whistling]

Paula Flinn

I was too little to be mad at Ike, George. That was then, this is now. Some people can’t let go of the past. Oh, that’s right, they’re called Conservatives! LOL!

George Croix

ps:
PF, you got any problems with the Ike Dike, or a Galveston ring levee, taking property and walling some off?

Paula Flinn

Not me! By the time they get around to completing it, I will be dead and gone. My kids and grandkid do not live here, so I will not worry about it. After Galveston County’s “finest” talk (about) it to death, we will STILL be evacuating to higher ground inland for awhile when a storm threatens. Let’s see how quickly they can come to a decision and build something that will protect us. I’ll believe it when I see it!

Bailey Jones

Oh George, please don't tell me you believe those "Nancy lives behind a wall" memes. She doesn't. Unless you consider a 3 foot high decorative fence a "wall". Wait a minute - maybe that's the solution. A nice 3 foot tall decorative brick fence all along the border! Trump could claim he got his wall and Nancy could claim that it's not immoral because it doesn't really do anything. I like the way you think!

George Croix

Sure I do.
In the political sense that this entire exercise in absurdities has become.
One man's 'decorative fence' is another's 'wall'. It left the realm of actual and became symbolic the moment we first heard 'walls don't work', at which time reality went into suspension.

Ya figure, if the Pres. wanted 5.7 B for a 3' high decorative fence along the border.... after promising to 'build the decorative fence'...then Chuck and Nancy would lien up and dole it out?
C'mon...people who TOTALLY abandon their own stated position rather than participate in aiding a political enemy get the same thing?
Sure.....
Lot's of kinds of 'walls', Bailey.
Since we're talking Nancy, she's got a 'wall' of security around her...too.
The goose that's better than all the common ganders.....

Diane Turski

Why didn't the Republicans vote to build Trump's wall when they were in control of the House and Senate during the past two years? It's time to stop this farce of blaming the Dems for not enabling Trump's illogical demands now. I say Bravo for the House finally doing their duty to check and balance the current White House occupant.

Carlos Ponce

"Why didn't the Republicans vote to build Trump's wall when they were in control of the House and Senate during the past two years?"
The House under Republican control voted for it. The Senate lacked the 60 votes. What is is about the SIXTY votes needed to pass the Senate Liberals doesn't understand? It's been explained time and time again. But Liberals keep asking, "Why didn't the Republicans vote to build Trump's wall when they were in control of the House and Senate during the past two years?"

George Croix

Because they know their base doesn't know....easier to gin up support when you have an easy audience....
[innocent]

Bailey Jones

Because the conservative Freedom Caucus (Ted Cruz & co) blocked it. They won't allow any immigration proposal to go forward that doesn't include deporting the DACA kids. And the Senate needs a few Democratic votes to pass an immigration bill, and Dems won't support anything that doesn't include justice for the DACA kids. And really - no one wants to solve this problem, it's way too valuable as a political tool to raise money and win elections.

Carlos Ponce

HR 695 which among other things provides additional appropriations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not reach the threshold of 60 to pass. Senator Cruz voted "Aye".
"Freedom Caucus (Ted Cruz & co) blocked it." WRONG.
"The Freedom Caucus, also known as the House Freedom Caucus, is a congressional caucus consisting of conservative and libertarian Republican members of the United States House of Representatives."
Ted Cruz is a member of the SENATE, Bailey. Freedom Caucus members only belong to the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The HOUSE passed the bill.

George Croix

It's time to stop the farce of pretending that the Senate voting is 'controlled' by the majority Party, unless that party has 60 votes. It plays well only with anyone who hasn't got a clue how their own government works....which means, unfortunately, it plays pretty darn well indeed....
THAT obvious fact aside, the House Reps stayed, and stay, too busy fighting themselves. The Senate Reps are about a half step better.
The Right is always best when aiming at their own foot...they rarely miss those shots....
The Left is always best when.....when......
Never mind....[beam][beam][beam][beam][beam]

Mike Zeller

Bottom Line - There will be NO funding for any kind of Wall, until Nancy Pelosi says so. Period !

Carlos Ponce

The wall will be built with or without Nancy Pelosi's approval.

George Croix

I think that's right, Mike, to the point of normal Congressional procedures for funding. Other ideas come to mind, but they would require multiple people to suddenly grow some required...uh...body accessories.....
The worthless Republicans who bailed out after backshooting for 2 years have seen to it that the path ahead is not a road, but a minefield...at best....and the equally adept Democrats are going with their own status quo. Sooner conservatives face that, the better....

There's NO reason for Nancy to acquiesce just because she is now directly contradicting her own previous position statements, and joined by a host of equally evolved folks. DC is now and has been for decades the home of two mirrors at every wash basin....
Especially when the Speaker enjoys broad support from people who WANT illegal immigration, and who consider a one time expense of a few billion dollar total budget of 4.7 TRILLION bucks rounding error to be untenable, while over 100 BILLION bucks yearly, every year, and only increasing as more 'caravans' get caught and released, is acceptable.
That's politics in these here United States these days...........
It's pie in the sky wishing by anybody to think it will magically improve, although devolution is always a possibility....
A Great Victory has been won for now against the citizens and legal residents of America....maybe we could create a national holiday to commemorate the day that they came in second to illegals. We can call it "You're #1 Day" and everyone who made it possible can salute appropriately all who opposed.....
[beam][crying][huh][unsure]
But, a small sliver of silver lining:
The good news is we won't be hearing any more complaints about Texas and other border state school funding, the folks who could have aided that having CHOSEN to just make a bad problem worse....
"You asked for it, you got it" is no longer just an old Toyota TV commercial....

Steve Fouga

George, as I've said before, I believe (and hope) there will be a deal, and it will include funding for a barrier. If I were the Dems, I would do this simply to take "The Wall" off the table as a rallying point. It's about all he has left, why not eliminate it as an issue? Time for the Dems to move on to their own agenda. They need to be FOR something, and Trump himself gives them plenty to be against (from their perspective, not yours). They can always slow-roll it in the future, since it'll take years to get it going in earnest. Plus they can't truly believe a barrier is useless... [whistling]

That's my thinking anyway. On the other hand, I was the one who thought the Repubs would want to shed Trump ahead of the midterms so they would have a chance of keeping the House... [beam]

Carlos Ponce

"shed Trump ahead of the midterms so they would have a chance of keeping the House..."
Steve do you really believe that? Study HISTORY. History shows the party in POWER of Congress usually loses seats in midterms. Keeping Trump is what kept the Senate. Republicans should have lost the Senate but they did not because of Trump. Study the losses Democrats made in 1994 and in 2010. Then study the losses made by Republicans. Republicans LOST 6 Senate seats and 31 House seats.
By keeping the Senate, Republicans bucked the trend.
"shed Trump" would have lost the Senate in 2018.

Steve Fouga

No way the Repubs were going to lose the Senate in 2018. There weren't enough seats in play, and the Dems had some really weak incumbents. I still think if the Repubs had dumped Trump in time for Pence to build some momentum, they might have kept both houses. My feelings is that Pence could much more easily unite voters behind him and the party than Trump could at this point in his presidency. Trump still has strong support, but not as strong as it used to be.

In retrospect, though, the Repubs got crushed so badly in the House that nothing would have saved them.

It's funny that you're attacking my abandon-Trump strategy of more than a year ago, rather than my Democratic wall strategy. Do you you agree with my proposal that the Dems should just agree to give Trump some wall money to take the it off the table as an issue?

Carlos Ponce

" Repubs got crushed so badly" Not as bad as historical trends would indicate. And they gained Senate seats.

Carlos Ponce

Make that Then study the losses made by Republicans in 2006.

Jim Forsythe

Steve, time for some music. Imelda May has become one of my new favorites. Hope you enjoy her music as much as I do.
The first two clips shows her voice off.
On "Boogie Woogie Session" the band is what I like the best on that clip.
Train Kept A Rollin' kind of reminds me of Johnny B. Goode; time in music.
Johnny's Got A Boom Boom, is just fun.
Imelda May - Call Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY5u496Y6kA
Imelda May - When It's My Time (Live in Session)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKeTvB_HDGM
Jools Holland & Imelda May - "Boogie Woogie Session" | The Imelda May Show | RTÉ One
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJlWZ42RYH8
Imelda May live session- Train Kept A Rollin'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz147m98jdQ
Imelda May - Johnny's Got A Boom Boom
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhogVvwbwkw

Steve Fouga

Thanks for the links, Jim. What a versatile artist! I just added 'Johnny's Got a Boom Boom' to my iTunes library. I can hardly resist a great bass line...

Steve Fouga

Also, by failing to shed Trump, while they kept the Senate, they still have Trump. I predict he'll pull the party down big-time in 2019.

Carlos Ponce

Prediction noted and bookmarked.

Steve Fouga

[beam]

George Croix

"......why not eliminate it as an issue?"
It's a fight-for-base base battle, Steve...both ways.....
And, OK,g then slow rolling has already been done, which is why nobody alive 30 years ago should trust the Dems to do anything they say they'd do on border security, having screwed Reagan to death after his amnesty deal with them, then they never did their end on the border.
In a country where some places are banning caps, and we are encouraged by 'leaders' to confront and get physical against our political opposition, tell them they are not welcome in 'our' America, I personally think the onus is on the already proven border security liars and troublemaking instigators.
But, personal opinion aside, there's not one good contemporary reason to not do as you described above except loss of some base support.....and, it looks like that's paramount, so, there it is.............

Steve Fouga

George, of course you're right about it being a base battle. And I admit that as a Wall centrist I have a hard time understanding either base's viewpoint. Still, my gut feeling is that The Wall is a bigger deal for Trump's base than Pelosi's -- because Trump has made it a bigger deal. Pelosi needs to get on with health care, climate change, gun violence, etc., issues that resonate more with the Democratic base.

Seperate but related discussion: I worked in the defense bidness for most of my career, so I see things from that perspective. I don't understand why, for instance, the administration hasn't put together a real PLAN -- statement-of-need, physical description, statement-of-work, schedule, and required resources -- showing more precisely what they are asking congress to fund. Not a "great big beautiful wall," or maybe more like a fence, or possibly steel but possibly concrete, or maybe full-length but maybe just where border agents want it... you get the picture. It's the administration's responsibility to do that!

If I were Pelosi, I'd either demand the administration come back with a more precise request (a "study," if you will), and give him the money to create the request, or I'd give him enough money to get him started on repair-and-replace, to eliminate the wall as an issue.

George Croix

Since when does the federal government ever ask for precise plans for any major capital expenditures, Steve?
The very same people balking right now at 5.7 billion for at least what is known to be physical barriers, exact design no doubt dependent on terrain and local needs, approved without batting a Botox eye 140X that amount for unspecified projects, much less details of any of them, they called a 'stimulus'....
At least we'd be able to SEE what we got with the 5.7B and decide whether the expense was worth it, rather than 140x that much vanishing into the land of ephemeral shovels.....
That's the flame on the rear to me....the pretense that it's 'too much money', when actually we spend that much or more about every 3 WEEKS on illegal immigration costs
Your argument in favor of specificity plays well in an area where accountability is paramount...not so much where 'winning' is the focal point....
If the truth were a desire to secure the border, and not just deny a campaign promise, we'd not be hearing such inanities as 'walls don't work'....because the money is NOTHING compared to the expense of not spending it....
I urge you to abandon reason and even sanity if you're going to think about the issue without a big bottle of Aleve tablets, because trying to relate what's in play here to a job either of us had where we actually had to do something positive or they'd find someone else who would do so is.....vexing.....

i await the vote in the House to REMOVE the 7 hundred or so miles of existing immoral fencing at the border, because it 'does not work'..... absent that, it's a pretty good indicator of the real motivation behind the opposition to keeping problems away as much as possible, rather than pay for them, in the hundreds of BILLIONS of bucks, while we figure out how to remove them later...if ever.....

Steve Fouga

George, I'm not questioning your assertion that the wall is primarily a political football; in fact I started to add a whole paragraph saying some of what you just said, but quit instead... In my opinion, both sides are making the political element too glaringly obvious, thereby losing credibility. I'm just saying a way for the Dems to counter is to ask for a detailed plan, and provide money to produce it. Or, give him a few bucks, maybe $5.7B, to shut him up.

You ask: "Since when does the federal government ever ask for precise plans for any major capital expenditures, Steve." My answer: Whenever it's important enough to either achieve something, or deny something. Generating (or asking for) precise plans is a tactic for justifying something, or slow-rolling it. One of the few areas on this forum I claim to have actual expertise in... [smile]

George Croix

1)[thumbup]
2)[thumbup]

Jarvis Buckley

George there most probably will never be a coastal barrier or ring levee.

George Croix

Jarvis, no argument from me.
If there is anything built anywhere, it will most likely be specific to protecting nationally strategic infrastructure at the various coastal and Ship Channel refining and chemical plant facilities, imo.....
That's the only reason the TC levee got built, and when it was started lawsuits were not more common than mosquitos, and there was little delay by 'environmental concerns', real or ginned up, so MUCH easier then....and still took over 20 years to finish......
You and I will sure as heck never see any of it, unless your middle name is Methuselah...
Mine's not.....[beam][ohmy][sad]

Steve Fouga

But y'all will probably get to see at least 55 more miles of border barrier...

George Croix

Like an 8 oz mini bottle of cold Diet Coke, not as satisfying, but better than nothing....

Steve Fouga

I hope I’m going to get credit for predicting what’s about to happen. If, of course, it happens...

George Croix

What prediction is that?

Steve Fouga

This one, from above: "George, as I've said before, I believe (and hope) there will be a deal, and it will include funding for a barrier."

I made the same assertion in a different thread, shortly after the shutdown ended. Just like the Repubs, Pelosi can't afford many of these speed bumps. No matter who "wins," there are plenty of black eyes to go around, and she doesn't need any more ill will.

George Croix

'Believe' and 'hope' are predictions??
We used to call those faith and wishes in the East Texas Piney woods....[beam]
Anyway, I'll accept that in the spirit of accepting......
As of right this very minute, the House 'Freedom Caucus' has dropped it's collective pants and showing it's rear again, so maybe/maybe not.....It's one thing to be staunchly conservative and quite another to be perpetually constipated...
I predict that there either will be a deal, or that there won't be one.....[smile]

Then, whatever deal is made or not, I predict that money will be 'found' from other sources, and there will be more building of walls that don't work, except for wherever they are built......and also predict that at such time(s) Chuck and Nancy will re-appear at a podium together in their 'American Gothic' poses, subcategory How Much Botox is Too Much, and rival the Freedom Caucus in pluggage.....[whistling]

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