Congress

House Democrats delay Homeland Security rollout

The postponement comes after the White House appeared to shoot down the expected proposal Thursday

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly on-camera press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats Friday put off a planned morning press conference on a Homeland Security appropriations proposal intended to reflect their demands in talks with the White House to end the partial government shutdown.

Democratic aides said the event had been postponed with no new time scheduled. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., had said the plan was to roll out the proposal at a press conference at 9:15 a.m. Friday, after talks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday.

Pelosi said earlier Thursday that House Democrats are drafting a roughly $49 billion fiscal 2019 Homeland Security spending bill that would fit within the remaining spending caps under the budget deal negotiated last February.

Pelosi wouldn’t comment on the size of a border security package, but told reporters that “within our $49 billion Homeland Security bill, there will be some provisions.”

The likelihood of a rollout later in the day was unclear. One Democratic aide said the postponement was indefinite while another aide said it could still happen later Friday. Regardless, the apparent halt in movement on the House side is another setback as Congress works to reopen government but no plan has garnered enough agreement to advance to the president.

The press conference cancellation also comes after the White House appeared to shoot down the expected Democratic proposal on Thursday.

There was something of a break in the stalemate as Senate appeared to signal movement on the shutdown issue following two unsuccessful procedural votes on proposals to reopen government Thursday. A bipartisan group of senators gave floor speeches urging passage of a three-week stopgap. But President Donald Trump threw cold water on the idea by asserting a “prorated down payment” on a border wall would have to be included in any stopgap.

Pelosi later told reporters at the Capitol that Trump’s demand for a down payment on the wall was “not a reasonable agreement.”

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this story. 

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