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'Agreement In Principle' Reached On Border Security Funding, Top Republican Says

A border fence is seen near the Rio Grande which marks the boundary between Mexico and the United States on February 09, 2019, in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Updated at 9:59 p.m. ET

Congressional negotiators have reached what they are calling "an agreement in principle" on a border-security spending agreement. Details of the agreement have not yet been released. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., says the full details will be released when the drafting of the bill is complete — a process that could be finished on Tuesday, at the earliest.

The bipartisan deal was negotiated by members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and will address all seven spending bills that expired during the recent partial government shutdown. The package will not include disaster relief.

Negotiators agreed to $1.375 billion for "physical barriers" at the border — the same level that was agreed to in last year's Department of Homeland Security funding bill, according to multiple congressional sources. This will fund about 55 miles of fencing.

President Trump has been demanding $5.7 billion for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border so the deal is significantly less that the White House's request.

Separately, negotiators also agreed to more resources for non-barrier border security measures such as technology and resources at ports of entry along with humanitarian aid.

Negotiators also agreed to an overall number of 40,520 detention beds at Immigration and Custom Enforcement facilities for the year — a drop from the current number of 49,057, according to two congressional sources. The number of detention beds had been a sticking point that had stalled negotiations over the weekend.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., one of the negotiators working on the deal, told reporters after Monday evening's meeting that both sides had to give some.

"Not a single one of us going to get every single thing we want but nobody does. But we're going to get what is best for the United States," Leahy said.

Shelby says White House staff was kept apprised of the talks but none of the top negotiators would say if they have any guarantees that President Trump will sign the deal. "We think so, we hope so," Shelby said when pressed about whether the president would back the proposal.

Shelby told reporters that he believes Congress can approve the legislation and send it to Trump for his signature before the Friday night deadline to avert another partial shutdown. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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