Winners and losers in the border security deal

After a weeks-long slog, Congress united on Thursday night to pass a massive federal spending bill that averts a second shutdown, just weeks after the longest government closure in the nation’s history.

Although the package funds nine departments, comprising roughly a quarter of the federal government, the lengthy impasse surrounded just one: the Department of Homeland Security, which would oversee the construction of new barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.


President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE had demanded $5.7 billion in funding for new construction of his signature border wall, launching a drag-out fight with Democrats, who rejected the provision outright, and leading to a five-week partial shutdown beginning Dec. 22.

In a blow to Trump, the new spending package has no funding for the concrete border wall that stood as the central promise of his 2016 campaign — an exclusion that Democrats are trumpeting as evidence that they won the long partisan standoff.

But Trump is expected to announce an emergency declaration to unearth new funds for his wall, which will also set up a fight in the courts.

Here’s an early list of winners and losers from the drawn-out fight.


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden on impeachment: 'I'm the only reason' it's happening Democrats to offer resolution demanding Trump reverse Syria decision Rand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter MORE

Late last year, the California Democrat was confronting an internal revolt and securing the gavel only after agreeing to a self-imposed cap on her remaining years at the top of the party. Yet her handling of the tense budget negotiations — and her unwavering refusal to cave to Trump’s demands amid the lengthy shutdown — have boosted her power within the diverse caucus and solidified her stature as the face of the Democrats’ anti-Trump resistance.

Pelosi’s face-off with Trump in the Oval Office in December set the early tone for the negotiations, sending a clear signal that the California Democrat wasn’t ready to cave in her opposition to the border wall. Instead, it was Trump who folded, accepting just $1.375 billion in new fencing and levee walls — a far cry from the $5.7 billion he’d demanded initially — and igniting a firestorm of criticism from conservatives infuriated he didn’t take the fight to the wire.

In the process, Pelosi also secured billions of dollars in new funding for a host of Democratic priorities, including a $1 billion increase to conduct the 2020 census, a $500 million hike in public housing funds, $1.9 billion for Amtrak and $310 million for National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

“She made a very powerful case that she can stand up strong against the administration,” said Rep. G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldDemocrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun Democrats dread Kennedy-Markey showdown in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's new controversy MORE (D-N.C.), “and she has proven to be a perfect fit for that position.”

House and Senate negotiators

In a Congress that’s practically defined by partisan bickering, the top negotiators of the Homeland Security deal proved the sides can discard their differences and find common ground, even on an issue as highly contentious as border security.

Despite grumbling from some lawmakers on the 17-member conference committee, the four leaders of that panel — Sens. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyMeet Trump's most trusted pollsters Contractors fight for pay from last shutdown — and the next one Trump signs stopgap measure, funding government through November MORE (R-Ala.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter Senator questions agencies on suicide prevention, response after Epstein's death in federal custody During impeachment storm, senators cross aisle to lessen mass incarceration MORE (D-Vt.) and Reps. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate The Hill's Morning Report — Arrest of Giuliani associates triggers many questions Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 | PhRMA CEO warns against Pelosi drug pricing bill | Medicaid work requirements costing states millions MORE (D-N.Y.) and Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerCongress hunts for offramp from looming shutdown fight House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November Lobbying world MORE (R-Texas) — defied their doubters to hash out a compromise with two days to spare before another scheduled shutdown.

To do so, the Republicans had to dismiss the criticisms from conservative voices bemoaning the absence of border wall funding, while the Democrats shrugged off attacks from the left protesting provisions for fencing and interior enforcement.

The four leaders — all of them top appropriators — had plenty of history to draw on. Between them, they have a whopping 128 years of experience on Capitol Hill. Pelosi, for one, said the key to the agreement was giving those lawmakers space.

“That’s real progress, I think, for us to have left it to the appropriators to make the decisions,” she said Thursday, shortly before the vote.

Women as leaders on a powerful committee

Lowey and Granger are the first two women to lead the House Appropriations Committee, and in their first negotiation they won a deal on border security that will prevent another shutdown.

The two veteran lawmakers enjoyed good press for their achievements.

In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, they said that if it had just been up to them, the deal would have come around even faster.

“Give us an hour. 30 minutes,” said Granger.

“We're very straightforward. We also know our own position and each other's position,” Lowey told CNN.

In a House with the most women members in history, the fact that Lowey and Granger were in on the final deal was not unnoticed.

Federal workers

The nation’s 2.1 million federal employees won a victory in the spending package with the inclusion of a provision lending them a 1.9 percent pay raise, retroactive to the start of the calendar year. The increase falls short of the 2.6 percent given to military personnel, and House Democrats — who had promoted the higher figure for nondefense workers — are already vowing to keep up that fight.

“I think it should be 2.6 [percent]. And in the future, I will pursue that,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Judge blocks Trump 'public charge' rule | Appeals court skeptical of Trump arguments for Medicaid work requirements | CDC offers guidance for treating vaping-related cases House to vote this month on legislation to combat foreign interference in elections MORE (D-Md.) said Wednesday.

In the meantime, however, advocates for federal employees say they’re pleased with the 1.9 percent bump — and that they dodged a bullet by avoiding another shutdown. The first closure had left roughly 800,000 federal employees either furloughed or working without pay for five weeks.

David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said many workers are still awaiting back pay and are facing “massive backlogs” of work from the last episode.

“Federal employees — and the American public they serve — cannot go through another shutdown,” Cox said in a statement.


President Trump

The president shut down the government for 35 days over demands that Congress give him $5.7 billion for a wall on the southern border. In the end, Congress gave him no money for his concrete wall and just $1.375 billion — less than a fourth of what Trump requested — for 55 miles of physical barriers in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.

It’s a huge let down, not only for Trump but for immigration hawks in Congress, groups pushing for immigration restrictions like FAIR and NumbersUSA, and the president’s grass-roots conservative base.

Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of Trump’s usual allies on cable news, trashed the deal as a “garbage compromise.” Fox’s Laura Ingraham called it a “Total SCAM!”

Trump is expected to declare a national emergency on the border — a move that he believes gives him the authority to shift hundreds of millions of dollars from other pots to pay for his border wall.

That move could play well with his base, but it’s also a move that could have been made weeks ago. And it will face serious court challenges.

Trump and Republicans do have other reasons to crow. They beat back a Democratic effort to cap the number of detention beds for undocumented immigrants apprehended inside the country.

They also think the legislation leaves Trump the flexibility to shift funds unilaterally in order to fund his wall and increase the number of detention beds, even without explicit congressional approval.

House conservatives

In December, conservative leaders, including House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsEx-Ukraine ambassador arrives to give testimony GOP seeks to gain more control of impeachment narrative Conservative lawmakers demand Schiff's recusal from Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (R-N.C.), lobbied Trump to shut down the government if Democrats didn’t cave and agree to fund his wall.

Trump listened to that advice — and has ended up with less money, and fewer miles, for the wall than Senate Republicans and Democrats had negotiated last year.

Last summer, Senate appropriators agreed to set aside $1.6 billion to build 65 miles of border fencing. The bipartisan pact passed by Congress this week hands Trump just $1.375 billion for 55 miles of physical barriers.

It’s unclear if Trump will continue listening to Meadows and other unofficial advisers on the right who helped lead Trump down this path. While Trump sided with the Freedom Caucus in using his executive authority, he ignored the conservative group’s proposed one-week stopgap funding measure designed to give the president more time to negotiate a better deal.

Instead, he signed the longer-term agreement that Senate Majority Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Republicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Mattis warns 'ISIS will resurge' without U.S. pressure on Syria MORE (R-Ky.) and others on Capitol Hill were begging him to support.

Federal contractors and women programs

Federal workers got back pay from the 35-day shutdown over December and January, as well as a nearly 2 percent pay raise.

Thousands of federal contractors weren’t as lucky.

Despite an eleventh-hour push by Democrats, back pay for federal contractors who didn’t get paychecks during the longest shutdown in U.S. history was left out of the final funding package. That includes people like custodians and security guards, as well as defense contractors and consultants.

Key GOP leaders and appropriators rejected the back pay, especially since Trump was signaling to Republicans on the Hill that he wouldn’t sign anything that included the back pay provision.  

Negotiators also weren’t able to come to an agreement on an extension of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which provides grant funding for programs to combat sexual and violent assault against women.

That means VAWA programs will expire at midnight Saturday.