Trump establece un compromiso con el Congreso sobre el muro fronterizo de México para evitar el cierre del gobierno

Está previsto que el Congreso resuelva su ruidosa pelea con el presidente Donald Trump de una manera bipartidista inusual, mientras los legisladores se preparan para aprobar un compromiso de seguridad fronteriza que ofrece una mera parte de los miles de millones que ha solicitado para un muro con México y evitar un reavivamiento del gobierno este fin de semana.

Con la firma poco entusiasta del Sr. Trump, ampliamente esperada pero difícilmente garantizada, los líderes del Congreso planearon las votaciones el jueves sobre el amplio paquete. El paso primero por el Senado liderado por los republicanos, luego por la Cámara controlada por los demócratas, fue prácticamente seguro, con un número considerable de miembros de ambos partidos dispuestos a votar "sí". Los negociadores completaron formalmente el acuerdo momentos antes de la medianoche del miércoles.

"Estoy seguro de que va a pasar. No conozco ningún drama", dijo el principal representante de los demócratas de la Cámara de Representantes, el representante James Clyburn.

El consentimiento del Sr. Trump pondría fin a una escandalosa saga legislativa que comenzó antes de Navidad y terminó, casi de manera apropiada, en el Día de San Valentín. El punto más bajo fue el cierre federal parcial de 35 días, históricamente largo, que el Sr. Trump provocó y estaba en plena vigencia cuando los demócratas tomaron el control de la Cámara, lo que lo obligó a compartir el poder por primera vez.

El señor Trump cedió el 25 de enero después de que la opinión pública se volviera contra él y los republicanos en el Congreso. No había ganado ni un centavo de los $ 5.7 mil millones que había exigido para su muro, sino que había causado cheques perdidos para legiones de trabajadores federales y contratistas federales y servicios perdidos para muchos otros. Fue un fiasco político para el señor Trump y un triunfo temprano para la presidenta de la Cámara de Representantes Nancy Pelosi.

The fight left both parties dead set against another shutdown. That sentiment weakened Mr Trump's hand and fuelled the bipartisan deal, a pact that contrasts with the parties' still-raging differences over health care, taxes and investigations of the president.

The product of nearly three weeks of talks, the agreement provides almost $1.4 billion for new barriers along the boundary. That's less than the $1.6 billion for border security in a bipartisan Senate bill that Mr Trump spurned months ago, and enough for building just 55 miles of barricades, not the 200-plus miles he'd sought.

Notably, the word "wall" — which fuelled many a chant at Mr Trump campaign events and rallies as president — does not appear once in the 1,768 pages of legislation and explanatory materials. "Barriers" and "fencing" are the nouns of choice.

The compromise would also gradually pressure Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to gradually detain fewer unauthorized immigrants. To the dismay of Democrats, it would still leave an agency many of them consider abusive holding thousands more immigrants than it did last year.

The measure contains money for improved surveillance equipment, more customs agents and humanitarian aid for detained immigrants. The overall bill also provides $330 billion to finance dozens of federal agencies for the rest of the year.

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Mr Trump has talked for weeks about augmenting the agreement by taking executive action to divert money from other programs for wall construction, without congressional sign-off. He might declare a national emergency, which has drawn opposition from both parties, or invoke other authorities to tap funds targeted for military construction, disaster relief and counterdrug efforts.

Those moves could prompt congressional resistance or lawsuits, but would help assuage supporters dismayed that the president is yielding.

Representative Mark Meadows, who leads the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, told reporters "it would be political suicide" if Mr Trump signs the agreement and did nothing else to find added money.

The measure was expected to be carried by pragmatists from both parties. Many of Congress' most liberal members were expected to oppose it, unwilling to yield an inch to Mr Trump's anti-immigrant policies, while staunch conservatives preferred a bill that would go further.

"I made a promise to my community that I wouldn't fund ICE," said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman who's become a face of her party's left wing and a leading proponent of eliminating the agency.

Though Mr Trump lost the highest-profile issue at stake, he all but declared victory Wednesday.

At the White House, he contended that a wall "is being built as we speak." Work on a small stretch of barriers is due to start this month in Texas' Rio Grande Valley under legislation Congress approved last year.

Swallowing the deal would mark a major concession by Mr Trump, who has spent months calling the situation at the southern border a national security crisis.

In private conversations, Mr Trump has called the congressional bargainers poor negotiators, said a person familiar with the conversations who wasn't authorized to speak publicly. Mr Trump has also made clear that he wanted more money for the wall and has expressed concern the plan is being framed as a defeat for him in the media.

Mr Trump has repeatedly vowed Mexico would pay for the wall, a suggestion that country has spurned. His descriptions of the wall's size have fluctuated, at times saying it would cover 1,000 of the 2,000-mile boundary. Previous administrations constructed over 650 miles of barriers.

Facing opposition from Mr Trump, Democrats lost their bid to include language giving federal contractors back pay for wages lost during the last shutdown. Federal workers have been paid for time they were furloughed or worked without paychecks.

Also omitted was an extension of the Violence Against Women Act. Democrats say this will give them a chance later this year to add protections for transgender people to that law.

Associated Press


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