Deal in principle reached to avoid new US government shutdown

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WASHINGTON, Feb 12, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – US lawmakers have reached an agreement
in principle to avoid a new government shutdown at the end of the week,
senators announced Monday, including $1.375 billion for a wall on the
southern US border.

“We’ve reached an agreement in principle between us on the Homeland
Security and the other six bills,” Senator Richard Shelby, a key Republican
negotiator, told reporters.

Senior congressional aides told AFP the agreement included $1.375 billion
in funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border — a key campaign promise of
President Donald Trump, who had demanded $5.7 billion for his pet project.

The agreed figure would fund approximately 55 miles (89 kilometers), all to
be located in the Rio Grande Valley area of south Texas, the aides said.

The deal still faces White House approval.

The Democrats and Trump have been clashing for weeks over funding a barrier
on the border.

The gridlock prompted the longest government shutdown in US history —
lasting over a month — that ended January 25 when Trump signed into law a
deal giving lawmakers three weeks to come up with an agreement, or face
further paralysis.

As Monday’s tentative deal was announced, the president was holding a
campaign-style rally in the frontier city of El Paso, Texas — a place where
he claims walls have eradicated an out-of-control influx of criminals from
Mexico.

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