The current “lame-o” congressional budget deal “does expose just how far Left the Democrat Party has gone on the issue of illegal immigration,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said Tuesday night on “The Ingraham Angle.”
The government partially shut down in late December after Democrats refused to give President Donald Trump the necessary $5.7 billion in border wall security funding to protect the country.
But Congress and Trump agreed in late January to adopt a short-term budget bill that would fund the government until this Friday. With the deadline looming, Republicans and Democrats announced on Monday they’d reached a deal.
It’s not yet been officially released, but reports indicate the deal allocates just $1.375 billion for border barriers.
The deal also includes an average daily cap of 40,520 beds for detaining illegal immigrants — almost 9,000 fewer than immigration enforcement officials are using now. Trump, however, could boost that number by pulling necessary money from other sources.
Ingraham called the agreement “a lame-o border deal,” noting that Trump told reporters on Tuesday he is not happy with the deal.
“It’s simple to see what’s going on here. The Democrats’ ultimate goal is to codify ‘catch and release,’ where if an illegal makes it into the country, he or she will be welcome to stay along with any child he or she brings with them across the border,” Ingraham said.
“It only encourages more illegal immigration,” the Fox News host continued. “But on the bright side — and I have to look at the glass half full here — the current deal does expose just how far Left the Democrat Party has gone on the issue of illegal immigration.”
Former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan told Ingraham on Tuesday night, “I watched the Republicans, you know, say what a great deal this is. Look, they can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. This is a terrible deal.”
“And for them to stand there and say, ‘Hey, look what we’ve done,’ it’s a shame. They got played and they lost,” Homan added.
Trump took to Twitter late Tuesday, writing, “I want to thank all Republicans for the work you have done in dealing with the radical Left on border security. Not an easy task, but the wall is being built and will be a great achievement and contributor toward life and safety within our country!”
I want to thank all Republicans for the work you have done in dealing with the Radical Left on Border Security. Not an easy task, but the Wall is being built and will be a great achievement and contributor toward life and safety within our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2019
But Ingraham lamented that Trump didn’t stick to his “initial instinct” and insist on border wall funding back when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. Instead, he listened to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) when they assured him the wall would be funded.
“Trump’s initial instinct, which is usually spot on, was to veto that omnibus bill last year. I’m telling you — he was right then,” Ingraham said. “And the Republicans, frankly, dropped the ball in the first 100 days. Republicans should have handled the president’s agenda, and he should have insisted on it in the first 100 days.”
“That was his instinct, and he listened to Paul Ryan and the crew, and that was a huge mistake in the end,” Ingraham said.
Ingraham conceded that another government shutdown “would have probably ended up hurting the president.”
“As much as we wish things were different, the fact of the matter is Trump is vowing to continue this fight right through the 2020 election about the wall and keeping our country safe,” Ingraham said.
“The good news” is that Trump does have “statuary authority to move ahead with building the wall” through other means, McLintock said.
“And also let’s not forget — while Trump isn’t getting everything he wants and definitely not what most of us want, Democrats are also breaking Pelosi’s pledge,” Ingraham said, pointing to the repeated claims of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that she would not approve one cent of border wall funding.
“She might not want to call it a wall — but that’s what it is. And that’s not all bad,” Ingraham said.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) panned the budget proposal as “another bone-headed deal,” telling Ingraham, “It’s time for us to do our job. And this deal isn’t doing our job.”
Rep. Tom McLintock (R-Calif.) warned that “as long as the Democrats control the House, nothing good is going to come out of the House of Representatives. And as long as the Republicans have given [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the Democrats a filibuster veto over any appropriations bills, we’re not going to get a good bill through the Senate, either.”
But “the good news” is that Trump does have “statuary authority to move ahead with building the wall” through other means, McLintock said, because “this is clearly a priority national defense issue.”
The president could pull some money from other military construction funds, said McLintock.
“He can actually draw about $13 billion to do so — far more than he’s asking from Congress. He has the legal authority to do so, he has the responsibility to do so, and ultimately that’s the only way the wall’s going to be built,” McLintock added.
Homan also said Congress has “never funded ICE at an appropriate level” over the years, noting the agency often has to re-appropriate money to fund its operations.
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