Trump Offers Compromise To End Shutdown, Secure Border Funding

President Trump offered temporary protection on Saturday for DACA and TPS recipients in a bid to secure border wall funding and end the government shutdown.

Trump laid out a proposal that also included funding for humanitarian assistance, drug detection technology, more border agents and immigration judges and $5.7 billion for “strategic deployment of physical barriers or a wall.” The funding would also cover more canine units, training and portable scanners to detect smuggled drugs and weapons.

Safety for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status recipients would last three years and include access to work permits, Social Security numbers and protection from deportation.

GOP operative Ford O’Connell said Democrats should make a counteroffer to Trump’s proposal.

“They’re offering the Democrats an olive branch to come to the table and compromise,” said O’Connell. “The Democrats don’t even want to come to the table so it’s very hard to get the government back open.”

O’Connell said the proposal will play favorably in the public eye as Trump moderates his position. “He’s willing to compromise,” said O’Connell.

Read more from Alexi Cohan at the Boston Herald

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'Granite Strong': Trump's Base Rock-Solid On Shutdown, Blames Democrat Opposition

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s field office on Maryland’s Eastern Shore was closed because of the partial federal government shutdown when George Godfrey Jr. showed up Wednesday, leaving him without a reimbursement check for his grain crop losses.

Despite the setback, Mr. Godfrey didn’t waver in his support for President Trump. In fact, he said he was ready to hang tough indefinitely with Mr. Trump in the shutdown fight over border security.

A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found that 86 percent of Republican voters approve of Mr. Trump’s performance, up from 82 percent in December before the shutdown.

Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll, called the president’s base “granite strong.” He credited their loyalty with keeping Mr. Trump’s overall approval rating above 40 percent despite his poor showings on honesty, empathy, leadership and fitness to serve.

Republican Party strategist Ford O’Connell said the illegal immigration issue is what unites and energizes Mr. Trump’s supporters, which is why the crowds at campaign rallies in 2016 spontaneously broke out in chants of “Build the wall.”

“Most Republicans recognize that Democrats have no interest in getting a handle on illegal immigration. In fact, Democrats are doing their best to incentivize illegal immigration with the explosion of sanctuary cities across the country, driver’s licenses for illegals, free health care and even voting rights in some cases for illegal aliens,” Mr. O’Connell said.

“Republicans see the writing on the wall, and they recognize that Donald Trump is the last, best chance to get illegal immigration under control.”

Read more from S.A. Miller at The Washington Times

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Pelosi Pushes Trump To Put Off State Of The Union Amid Shutdown

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has disinvited President Trump from delivering the annual State of the Union address while the government is shut down, citing security problems — though the department of Homeland Security shot down her reasons for calling it off.

Pelosi asked Trump to postpone the planned Jan. 29 State of the Union speech, saying that with both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department entangled in the shutdown, the president should speak to Congress another time or he should deliver the address in writing.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied anyone’s safety is compromised, saying both agencies “are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.”

Several Bay State pols sided with the House’s top Democrat, citing political reasons rather than security ones.

GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said, “This is bare-knuckle partisan politics, period. Pelosi does not want to give Trump a platform to lay out his case for border security.”

The Constitution requires that a president periodically give a report on the state of the union to Congress, but it doesn’t go into much detail as to how. George Washington and John Adams, the country’s first two presidents, delivered it in person, but Thomas Jefferson gave it in writing only, and over the next century, other presidents followed suit. Woodrow Wilson brought the in-person delivery back in 1913 as a tactic to try to get his fiscal policy passed. Since then, presidents have built on that, using the platform in increasingly showy and often effective ways to state their political cases to the country, said Boston University professor and presidential historian Thomas Whalen.

Read more from Sean Cotter at the Boston Herald

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Trump Is Right: Walls Work On The Southern Border

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) contend the crisis on the U.S. southern border is manufactured.

Yet, The Washington Post, no friend to the Trump Administration, disagrees. According to the Post, the situation on the southern border is indeed “a bona fide emergency.”

Record numbers of migrant families are coming to the United States, the U.S. immigration courts have a backlog in excess of 800,000 cases and the holding cells and detention centers are at overflow capacity.

Add in the fact that scores of Americans are killed by illegal immigrantsevery month, the tremendous strain illegal aliens place on the nation’s social welfare system, not to mention the human trafficking, drugs and crime burdening American citizens.

Still crickets from the left.

When we do hear from Democrats, it is because they are expressing outrage over the Border Patrol taking non-lethal countermeasures to protect themselves from a migrant caravan bum rushing the border; a level of contempt we didn’t see from Democrats when former President Barack Obama was faced with a nearly identical situation and dealt with it in a similar fashion a few years earlier.

Luckily for the White House, Americans by and large are not buying what Congressional Democrats are selling when it comes to the southern border. They want strong border security. A recent survey from Morning Consult shows that 79 percent of registered voters see the situation at the southern border as a “crisis” or “problem.”

So what specifically makes this current southern border crisis different than the ones faced by President George W. Bush or Barack Obama? It is not so much the raw number of aliens crossing illegally, but the “make up of the flow” that is different. More migrants hail from Central America, more are coming in family units, and there are more unaccompanied minors. This shift in composition of illegal immigrant groups is key to understanding how our current asylum laws combined with various other immigration loopholes and defects allow them to specifically game the system in a way that unaccompanied adult Mexican nationals, who previously comprised the majority of illegal immigrants, cannot. In other words, once these folks (Central American migrants, family units and minors) arrive and set foot on U.S. soil, they are next to impossible to remove. This is why the Trump administration has gone to great lengths to broker a deal with Mexico to serve as a staging area for Central American migrants until their asylum claims are processed.

But until Congress has the will to change the asylum laws and to fix the other legal loopholes and defects, it would be foolish not to better secure the southern border in the meantime.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill

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Saturday Set To Mark Longest Gov't Shutdown In U.S. History

Saturday is set to mark the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, as the White House and Democrats in Congress remain at odds over the funding of a wall at the border with Mexico proposed by President Donald Trump to fend off immigrants.

Part of the U.S. federal government shuttered since Dec. 22 after the bill funding the government expired and U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to veto any spending bill that does not contain the 5.7 billion U.S. dollars he is demanding to fund a wall on the southern border.

Neither side seems willing to back down. The Democrats accuse the president of using the shutdown and border crisis to score political points, while Trump maintains it's a matter of national security.

Meanwhile, the White House is weighing the declaration of a national emergency -- a legal mechanism that would allow the president to use the military to build the wall. Experts said such a scenario may well end the government shutdown, although Trump indicated Friday that this would not happen immediately.

Republican Strategist and TV news personality Ford O'Connell said the stalemate could well run until the president's State-of-the-Union address in late January. It is possible by then for the president to declare the border crisis a national emergency citing a 1976 act on the proclamation of a national emergency.

"The White House wants to turn the shutdown into a larger argument about border security, and they feel if they can do that they can win," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said currently hundreds of miles of the borderland already have some sort of barrier, and noted that Trump merely wants to fund coverage of the last 300 miles of unguarded border territory.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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Dan Patrick’s Alliance With Trump Gets Tighter Amid Border Wall Impasse

As President Donald Trump’s inner circle continues to shrink with the departures of key aides and cabinet members, there is one Texan whose role in the administration is only growing more prominent and deeper.

Tea party favorite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was already close with Trump in 2016, when he led the president’s campaign in the state. But this week the White House showed just how valued Patrick is by repeatedly consulting with him over the last 8 days during the border wall showdown, flying Patrick to Washington, D.C., to help prepare Trump for his first nationwide address from the Oval Office and giving Patrick a key role in Trump’s first visit to the Texas border since he was elected president.

Over eight days, Patrick has said he was in touch with the White House at least five different times.

This week Patrick got so much presidential attention that when he returned to Texas he was batting down rumors that he was angling for a job in the White House or that Trump was going to make him the next Secretary of Homeland Security given his advocacy for border protection.

Job or not, Patrick, 68, has distinguished himself as a trusted ally for Trump and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, whom Patrick said he spent most of his time with on Tuesday talking about immigration and pitching ideas for Trump’s address to the nation. Patrick initially supported U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, but shifted to Trump and publicly called on Cruz to get behind Trump after the nomination was sealed.

“He has as much juice with the White House as anybody in Texas,” said Ford O’Connell, a veteran Republican strategist based in Virginia.

O’Connell said that relationship is even more important given the makeup of other states on the Mexican border. Both New Mexico and California have Democratic governors and Arizona just elected a Democrat to the United States Senate. But in Texas, O’Connell says Trump has a safe haven where he needs a voice like Patrick’s to help make the case for the wall.

Read more from Jeremy Wallace at The Houston Chronicle

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Shutdown Pressure On Trump, Democrats Escalates As Federal Workers Poised To Miss First Paycheck

President Trump and lawmakers will face a new level of pressure to end their stalemate over border wall funding Friday when hundreds of thousands of federal workers miss their first paycheck as a result of the partially shuttered federal government, strategists say.

In the halls of Congress, though, even some of the president’s closest allies are recognizing that they about to enter a new foray in the battle over the wall.

Parts of the government have remained closed since Dec. 22, when funding for a slew of federal agencies lapsed.

The shutdown, which affects roughly 800,000 federal workers, is the result of an impasse between the White House and Democrats over funding for a wall along the southern border, for which Trump has demanded $5.7 billion.

Democrats have rebuffed that request, and negotiations have broken down.

But on Friday, when the shutdown becomes the longest in history, strategists say its effects will be felt in households nationwide.

So far, neither Democrats nor Trump have indicated they’ll budge when it comes to wall funding, though Trump has signaled at times he’s willing to accept less than $5 billion. The president this week threatened to declare a national emergency if a deal can’t be reached, a move that would enable him to invoke his emergency powers and redirect funding to build the wall without authorization from Congress.

Ford O’Connell, a longtime Republican strategist, noted that both sides are feeling the heat, but said it “behooves” Trump to continue to shine a spotlight on the need for border security.

“It’s one of these things where everyone is going to have skin in this game the second the first paycheck is missed, and then it’s going to become a battle of wills,” he said.

O’Connell said he expects Trump will hold firm in his demand for wall funding and predicted the shutdown could last until Trump delivers his State of the Union address Jan. 29.

Read more from Melissa Quinn at the Washington Examiner

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High Expectations, Bitter Politics Ahead Of Trump's First Oval Office Address

President Donald Trump will take his case directly to the American public Tuesday night and deliver a prime-time address on what the White House and others have identified as a "humanitarian and security crisis" at the southern border.

The White House formally requested that the major television networks interrupt their regularly scheduled programming to air his speech from the Oval Office. The big four, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, spent time deliberating and ultimately agreed to broadcast the address. The decision set off a bitter partisan battle over network coverage of the president and has fueled already high expectations forTrump's first formal address from the Oval Office.

Ahead of the 9 p.m. ET speech, critics challenged Trump's underlying claim of an actual crisis at the southern border, undermining the stated purpose of the address. Some argued the president will use his airtime to set the stage for, or actually declare, a national emergency and assert a host of emergency powers.

If Trump is going to move the needle of public opinion in his favor, he will have to expand the debate beyond the confines of a "partisan food fight" and inform a larger conversation about border security, explained Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist and political commentator.

"This is a case where, despite what people think of Donald Trump, he does have the facts on his side," O'Connell said, noting a number of news reports acknowledging a crisis on the southern border. "But he is going to have to make the case to the people who are not necessarily as partisan as the hard Rs and hard Ds. I think that is going to be the key here."

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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Trump To Address Nation On Wall

President Trump will give a prime-time address Tuesday from the Oval Office to make his case for closing parts of the government over his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall on the Mexican border.

The president also plans to travel to the border on Thursday, a bellicose move reflecting the entrenched positions on both sides of the debate and one that almost certainly means the 18-day shutdown will continue into the weekend.

Negotiations had come to a standstill even before the White House announcements about Trump’s address and border visit.

Democrats insist it is not possible to have substantive talks about Trump’s demands while parts of the government are shut down. The House this week will begin passing individual appropriations bills for the affected agencies as they seek to build pressure on Trump.

“The White House knows the longer they can shine a spotlight on this issue, the better they can make their case,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. 

GOP lawmakers are questioning what the endgame is for Trump. They say he hasn’t been clear enough in setting expectations and that they were caught by surprise when Trump torpedoed Senate legislation preventing the shutdown that Pence signaled Trump would accept. 

“The question for the White House is at what point is the shutdown felt among voters who support Trump? As of right now that doesn’t appear to be the case,” O’Connell added. “You can say it certainly is part of his reelection strategy.” 

Read more from Jordan Fabian and Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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Republicans Push ‘Innovation’ As Climate Change Solution

GOP lawmakers are increasingly turning to a new refrain for their position on climate change, calling for “innovation” as the policy solution.

Many Republicans have seemingly settled on innovation as their primary position to counter progressive Democrats who have grown louder in their calls for a Green New Deal, with its emphasis on renewable electricity, and as the United Nations and federal government issue reports saying time is running out to dramatically cut emissions.

Endorsing innovation has very few obvious political downsides for the GOP. It’s not controversial and helps Republicans paint a contrast with Democratic ideas they argue are controversial and expensive.

But critics say Republicans are being disingenuous and using innovation to mask their opposition to more aggressive climate change policies. Those critics say innovation alone isn’t sufficient to cut greenhouse gas emissions to the level that scientists say is necessary.

“What you’re hearing from Republicans is an acknowledgement that pollution and human activity have a negative effect on the environment. But they don’t want to get backed into a corner on specifics,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. “They recognize their electorate are concerned about it, but the Democrats have not presented a realistic solution that does not hurt jobs and economic growth.”

The GOP sees climate change as a niche issue, O’Connell said, so any policy they support only needs to please a small portion of voters.

Read more from Timothy Cama at The Hill

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