CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito has said she believes the congressional conference committee she sits on in Washington to come up with a border security proposal will get a deal done, avoiding another partial shutdown to the government.
Capito, appearing on Thursday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’, said all sides are working hard to strike up a package before the February 15 deadline.
“We think we can get something by the deadline,” she said. “However, we may have some issues in turn like you always do with staff and writing, crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, but yes I think we can get there by a week from Friday.”
The deadline of February 15 comes as President Donald Trump and Congress approved a three-week resolution to end the partial government shutdown on January 25. The deal funded the government for three weeks but did not include funding for a border wall or funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
During the partial government shutdown of 35 days, Trump maintained his request for $5.7 billion for border wall funding. Capito said representatives from Trump’s office have been in on the bipartisan committee meetings but have not been too specific.
“He (Trump) charged us in his State of the Union,” she said. “He said ‘You all find this and figure this out and then we will work.’ I wouldn’t say he is shutout but I think he is letting Congress do it’s work. I appreciate that because we are working hard to do what we do every year which is to try to smooth out the bumps and tackle the difficult issues.
“There has to be a barrier in there and has to be significant.”
The conference committee Capito is on consists of members from the Senate and House of Representatives. She said a group of 17 members from the committee met with border agents on Wednesday and that she believes the Democrats are willing to give on a physical barrier when the case is made by the professionals.
“The border agents laid out a very compelling case about why we need more barrier,” Capito said. “Why we need more obstructions for people entering illegal areas particularly the Rio Grande Valley. We also heard that they need more manpower, that means more border agents and also better technologies in every part of the border, but particularly at points of entry to be able to detect drugs and other things coming in illegally.
“I think everybody has moved a little bit. We haven’t moved vastly off of our positions. My position is a very large amount for border wall but we’ve come down off of our high number. That is what you do in negotiations, you try and meet somewhere in the middle where you can both agree. I think the Democrats accept new physical barrier.”
Capito added she feels a will among the committee group to work for an agreement.
“I certainly have that will,” she said. “I am working with my Democrat counterparts on the House side to try and reach an agreement. We just had a meeting this morning (Thursday) working towards that. All lines of communication are open and that is good.”