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U.S. President Donald Proposes Deal To End Shutdown

A spokesperson for Pelosi's office said the trip would have provided "critical national security and intelligence briefings"

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks about the partial government shutdown, immigration and border security in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, in Washington, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

In a bid to end the monthlong partial shutdown of the U.S. government, President Donald Trump on Saturday offered Democrats compromises on his hard-line immigration policies, but they were knocked down by the opposition party even before he spoke.

“We hope they will offer their enthusiastic support, and I think many will,” Trump said of the Democrats. “The radical left can never control our borders. I will never let it happen.”

In his remarks, broadcast live from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump called for 2,750 more federal agents for immigration control and $5.7 billion for a steel barrier covering 370 kilometers (230 miles) of the border with Mexico.

“It is time to reclaim our future from the extreme voices who fear compromise and demand open borders,” Trump said. “That is why I am here today to break the logjam.”

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Migrants from Cuba, Venezuela and Central America queue at the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, to cross the border and request political asylum in the United States, Jan. 9, 2019. VOA

Pair of programs

Trump offered compromises on two programs his administration has targeted for elimination: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from some Latin American and African nations.

The bipartisan Bridge Act would allow 740,000 immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, often referred to as Dreamers, to keep their work permits and hold off deportations for three more years if their permits have been revoked.

That plan has been strongly opposed by some prominent conservative commentators.

Shortly before Trump spoke, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the offer a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives that were “unacceptable” and said the president’s proposal was “not a good-faith effort.”

“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a nonstarter. For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports,” Pelosi added in her statement.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 17, 2019. VOA

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, tweeted: “We will never allow a shutdown as a negotiating tactic. Need to reopen government first.”

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, an Alabama Republican, chastised his Democratic Party colleagues in the House for rejecting Trump’s proposal even before the president announced it, saying Trump “keeps trying to negotiate and Democrats just keep saying no.”

Trump said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, would bring his proposed legislation to the floor next week in order to “immediately reopen our federal government.”

The president made his announcement shortly after he attended a naturalization ceremony in the Oval Office for five new American citizens, highlighting his support for legal immigration.

Trump’s proposal reportedly stems from a Thursday night meeting involving his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner; Vice President Mike Pence; and McConnell to craft an outline for legislation that could win sufficient approval from opposition lawmakers.

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is surrounded by reporters as he returns from meeting with President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders at the White House, to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 2, 2019. VOA

McConnell has resisted any immigration-related bills being introduced in the Senate that the president would not agree to sign in advance.

‘Time to make a law’

In a statement released after Trump’s speech, McConnell said, “Everyone has made their point — now it’s time to make a law. I intend to move to this legislation this week.”

There had been speculation Trump might declare the situation on the southern border a national emergency, giving him a face-saving way to end the government shutdown that could prove both politically and economically costly, while maintaining the backing of his core supporters.

Later, several top administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, spoke with a small group of reporters at the White House.

Mulvaney cautioned that while declaring a national emergency “is still a tool that is available to the president,” it is not the preferred route.

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A man looks out at the U.S. border where workers are replacing parts of the U.S. border wall for a higher one, in Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 19, 2018. VOA

The president faces pressure from his conservative base not to compromise on immigration issues. Some influential commentators, who are hard-liners on border security, have warned Trump that trading amnesty for wall funding could cost him re-election in 2020 because he would lose support.

Pence denied the criticisms, saying, “This is not an amnesty bill.” He said the proposal was for a three-year reprieve for DACA recipients and would not grant citizenship or permanent residency to any of the immigrants affected.

Trump has repeatedly insisted he needs $5.7 billion in taxpayer funding to extend a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.

The Democrats, who control the House but not the Senate, have offered more than $1 billion in new money for border security, but none specifically for a wall. Democratic sources say the money will be included in a packet of spending bills the House will consider next week — $524 million to improve ports of entry and $563 million to hire more immigration judges.

The impasse over the wall and the record-long government shutdown also led to a dispute between Trump and Pelosi over her plans to travel to Afghanistan.

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An Air Force bus waits on the plaza of the Capitol after President Donald Trump used his executive power to deny military aircraft to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just before she was depart to visit troops abroad, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 17, 2019.. VOA

‘Very irresponsible’

Pelosi accused the White House on Friday of leaking information about her planned trip to fly commercially to Afghanistan after Trump denied Pelosi the use of a military plane for the trip.

Pelosi said it was “very irresponsible on the part of the president” to release details about her sensitive travel plans, which the State Department said significantly increased the security threat on the ground.

The White House denied leaking Pelosi’s flight plans.

Trump on Thursday had revoked the use of a military plane for Pelosi and Democratic members of Congress for their planned trip to Afghanistan to visit U.S. troops and to Brussels to take with NATO leaders. In a letter to the speaker, the president said that “in light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay [as a result of the shutdown], I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.”

Also Read: U.S. President To Address The Nation Regarding The Shutdown

A spokesperson for Pelosi’s office said the trip would have provided “critical national security and intelligence briefings” as well as served as an opportunity for Pelosi to thank the troops.

The president’s letter did not directly address Pelosi’s call Wednesday for Trump to delay his scheduled Jan. 29 State of the Union address until government funding was restored and the shutdown ended. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s why Americans Prefer Single-Family Homes

Are Americans Ready to Let Go of Single-Family Homes?

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Homes
This is a great way for (homeowners) to rent out their basement, or rent out half their homes. VOA

By Dora Mekouar

For decades, many Americans have viewed owning their own home as a tangible symbol of the American Dream. But the question of whether that dream includes dividing one single-family home into two — along with other higher housing density options — is about to be tested in a handful of states nationwide.

Virginia is one of the latest states to tackle the affordable housing crisis by considering zoning rules to allow denser — and, potentially, more affordable — housing, in any area now zoned for single-family homes.

“If a property owner feels it fits their need to upgrade to a duplex from a single family’s owned property, then they will go about it through a local approval process,” says Virginia House Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, who represents a district in suburban Washington, D.C. “After the local approval process is completed, then they can create their two families’ owned property as they see fit.”

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Virginia lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow an accessory dwelling, for example, a separate structure, basement apartment or garage apartment, on lots zoned for single homes. VOA

Samirah introduced a bill to allow duplex homes, like townhouses and cottages, in any place that’s currently zoned for single-family homes. The specifics of what those multi-family properties would look like will be left to local governments. The bill does not ban single-family homes.

It’s the kind of move toward creating more affordable housing that’s already been introduced on the West Coast of the United States. Oregon was the first state in the country to ban restrictive single-family zoning in July 2019.

Planning experts and local officials say suburban sprawl has negative impacts on the environment, puts a heavier burden on local services, isolates people, and excludes lower income households and households with people of color from certain communities through economic means.

Homes
In Virginia, builder Carrington Homes offers an accessory dwelling unit, a second living unit (left), as an option for their new homes. VOA

A 2019 Harvard housing report found a “relative lack of smaller, more affordable new homes.” The same report finds that about half of all renter households nationwide spend almost one-third of their income on housing.

But the move away from single-family zoning won’t be an easy one.

“At some level, that development pattern is really uniquely American,” says Robert Parker, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement at the University of Oregon.

“People who have lived, and grew up, in low-density suburban developments have a strong preference for that. They can’t really envision a future that’s substantially different than that.”

The size of the average house has more than doubled since the 1950s. In 2019, the average size of a new single-family home was 240 square meters (2,584 square feet), according to the National Association of Homebuilders.

Americans clearly like their space. But millennials — people in their mid-20s to late 30s who make up the nation’s largest living generation — have their own ideas about what the ideal home looks like, according to a Portland, Oregon-area survey cited by Parker.

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Christine Minnehan sweeps up in front of her “granny flat” located in the backyard of her Sacramento, Calif home . VOA

“Eighty percent of them would prefer to live in a detached, single-family residence, and so it really begins to become a matter of scale and amenity,” Parker says. “A lot of those those younger households are really looking for smaller units in walkable neighborhoods and, increasingly, the development community is beginning to recognize that and thinking about ways that they can build those environments.”

Samirah, the Virginia delegate, expects some pushback from people who are worried their neighborhoods could become less desirable, but he says correctly organizing density can benefit property owners, including those who are struggling financially.

“People think it’s going to be a major shift in the landscape of suburbia. I think that’s a false narrative,” Samirah says. “This is a great way for (homeowners) to rent out their basement, or rent out half their house, or whatever it may be…If you’re thinking of retiring, instead of selling your house and moving out to another area, it also helps them keep their families in place.”

“You can have a mixture of densities that’s not detrimental to a set of lifestyles that people hold very dear, that will allow housing choice for households that are struggling to find housing that’s affordable to them in environments that are conducive to the lifestyles that they would like to lead,” Parker says.

Also Read- 2000-2019: The Hottest Decade Measured

He adds that the suburban way of life isn’t going anywhere in the near future.

“There’s little that we can do to retrofit suburbia moving forward so that land use pattern is pretty well ingrained and it’s going to be there for generations.” (VOA)