U.S. shutdown talks fall apart as deadline nears

Feb 11, 2019, 3:37 AM EST
(Source: Gage Skidmore/flickr)
(Source: Gage Skidmore/flickr)

The congressional Republicans and Democrats, who met over the weekend to negotiate a deal that could avert a looming U.S. government shutdown, failed to reach an agreement as the talks broke down over immigrant detention policy.

The 17 negotiators from the Senate and the House had met to work out a deal hoping that it could be presented to Congress by Monday, giving it a fair time to pass the bill by Friday when the last month’s federal funding deal expires, notes the BBC.

The latest deadlock stems from Democrats’ demand to cap the number of beds in detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a move that Republicans see as an impediment to their drive to deport illegal immigrants.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby, who squarely pinned the blame for the impasse on Democrats, didn’t sound too optimistic about the ongoing talks, as he put the chances of striking a deal by Monday at 50-50, writes Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who had been demanding $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the border with Mexico, has already called the talks a “waste of time,” hinting that he could declare an emergency to secure the money.