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Schumer ratchets down border fencing offer

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (N.Y.) is backing off his earlier proposal to spend $1.6 billion on border fencing, acknowledging opposition from House Democrats.

“One point six we believe could not pass the House. The two options we made are the better options to go,” he said, referring to the counter offers that he and House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (Calif.) offered Trump at a meeting earlier Tuesday.

Schumer had previously told reporters around Thanksgiving that Senate Democrats would be willing to support the funding level included in the Senate’s homeland security appropriations bill, which included $1.6 billion to secure the border.

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But that offer has since come under attack from House Democrats.

Schumer on Tuesday backed off the position, explaining it couldn’t pass the House.

Schumer and Pelosi instead proposed passing a stopgap spending measure for the homeland security appropriations bill that would keep border fencing funding at $1.3 billion, the same amount that Congress appropriated for fiscal year 2018. 

They also offered a stop-gap funding measure for all seven unfinished appropriations measures, including the homeland security funding bill, that would also keep border fencing funding at $1.3 billion.

Twelve House Democrats wrote a letter to Schumer on Nov. 28 warning Schumer that “any appropriations for a border wall would have unequivocally deleterious economic, diplomatic, and environmental effects. 

“We write to express our alarm and opposition to your comments that $1.6 billion for a physical wall along the border is the starting negotiating position for Democrats,” the lawmakers wrote to Schumer last month.