(NEW YORK) — Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., who is involved in negotiations over border security funding, said an agreement has yet to be reached as the “goalposts have been moving.”
“We were progressing well. I thought we were tracking pretty good over the last week. It just seems over the last 24 hours or so the goalposts have been moving from the Democrats,” Graves told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday. “And at the end of the day we have an obligation — that’s to protect our nation, provide the proper border security. And as long as the goalposts continue moving, there’s really no way we can lock in on an agreement.”
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., the chairman of the House Budget Committee, agreed with Graves’ assessment.
“Well I think the goalposts have shifted a lot on both sides,” he said. “The numbers are all over the place. I think the big problem here is, this has become pretty much an ego negotiation. This really isn’t over substance. What needs to happen is Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen needs to come to the Hill and lay out her plans and be questioned on them so that we can figure out and try to come to an agreement on what the necessary security provisions should be and then we’ll fund them.”
Failure to reach an agreement could risk a government shutdown at the end of the week — three weeks after the longest-running shutdown in U.S. history.
Negotiators were hoping to have a deal finalized before Monday to have enough time to vote on the measure in both chambers to prevent a government shutdown on Feb. 15. According to a report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the 35-day shutdown cost the economy an estimated $11 billion, $3 billion of which will never be recovered.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said previously there will be no funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall in the legislation, disregarding his original demand for $5.7 billion.
Trump has stressed the need for border security, saying “it’s not an option.”
His calls for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border come amid an 85 percent increase in arrests along the border compared to this time last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data released Friday. About half of the 200,000 people apprehended in the past four months were families.
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