Senate braces for lame-duck fights over border wall money, ICE

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President Trump may be on his way out, but Senate Republicans want to send him off with a last infusion of cash for his border wall.

GOP senators on Tuesday unveiled their spending bills to keep the government running through 2021, and they included nearly $2 billion in new money for wall construction and enough money to maintain the detention of illegal immigrants.

Those mark serious clashes with Democrats, who control the House and whose spending bills lack wall money, and who proposed slashing detention beds and deportation officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Fiscal year 2021 began on Oct. 1, but the government has been operating under a stopgap “continuing resolution” that extended last year’s funding. That money runs out Dec. 11, and lawmakers are racing that deadline to get full-year funding in place.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby was optimistic about getting a deal.

“Time after time, we have demonstrated our willingness to work together and get the job done. We have before us the opportunity to deliver for the American people once again,” he said.

But Democrats said the gaps between the House and Senate are significant.

In addition to immigration fights, the two sides are also likely to clash over education funding levels and GOP-proposed cuts to foreign family planning assistance.

The new spending fights will also come on top of a months-long stalemate over the next round of coronavirus relief.

“This country is headed for a deadly winter and it is long past time for us to provide the resources the country needs to get this virus under control and our economy back open. These bills do not provide any such relief,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Democratic vice chairman of the committee.

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