Dem negotiator: Conservative backlash to border deal confirms it’s a good compromise

Nita Lowey

House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey didn’t give any indication of whether she thought the president would veto the deal but emphasized repeatedly that she believed it would have strong bipartisan support in Congress. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey said Tuesday that conservative backlash to the bipartisan border security deal struck Monday evening “confirms for me that it’s a good deal.”

The agreement in principle would provide, among other provisions, $1.3 billion in money for a physical barrier along a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, significantly less than the $5.7 billion in border wall funding that President Donald Trump has demanded.

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Though it also includes Democratic concessions on capping the number of detention beds for immigrants, members of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus and conservative commentators like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have ripped the compromise, prompting the question of whether Trump might once again give in to pressure from the right and threaten to veto the bill, putting the federal government on the brink of another shutdown.

But Lowey (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day” that backlash from the far ends of the ideological spectrum underscores that each party made compromises in order to reach an agreement.

“I would hope Sean Hannity and all the other people you mentioned aren’t running this government,” she said, adding that “this was a bipartisan deal … and I think we did an excellent job that all parts of our caucuses can accept.”

The New York Democrat didn’t give any indication of whether she thought Trump would veto the deal but emphasized repeatedly that she believed it would have strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, which could override a presidential veto with a two thirds vote in each chamber.

“Look, when we sat around this table and negotiated this deal, we didn’t call Sean Hannity, we didn’t call Coulter, we didn’t call all the other people you mentioned. This was a deal negotiated between Republicans and Democrats,” she said.

Lowey accused those who opposed the border security package of enabling another shutdown just three weeks after the longest shutdown in U.S. history came to an end, telling CNN that she’s “cautiously optimistic” that the bill will pass.

“I’ve been in the Congress for a while. You can’t get everyone to love what you do. But you negotiate, that’s what appropriators do,” she said.

Asked how she would react to the possibility of Trump unilaterally diverting funding from other projects in order to supplement wall funding in the border security package — a legal and political gamble — Lowey predicted a “bipartisan response” in both the GOP-controlled Senate as well as the Democratic-controlled House.

“We acted, this is the bill,” she said.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/12/border-deal-conservatives-1164653