House passes bill with border wall spending

In the midst of a looming partial government shutdown, the House of Representatives passed a spending bill that includes an additional $5 billion for President Donald Trump's long-promised border wall.

Posted: Dec 21, 2018 8:13 PM
Updated: Dec 21, 2018 8:44 PM

A government shutdown may force President Trump to spend Christmas in Washington -- but in sunny South Florida, his Mar-a-Lago estate beckons.

The massive security apparatus that travels ahead of the President is already in place. Aides and agents are standing by. And Trump's suitcases have already been zipped up with his golf clothes.

It may all be for naught if Trump and lawmakers cannot reach a compromise on funding the government past midnight. The White House says Trump will not travel to Florida if the partial government shutdown takes effect.

After meeting Senate Republicans at the White House on Friday morning, Trump did not offer any new plan that might garner enough support for passage. That made a shutdown appear more likely.

But it did not stop preparations for Trump's potential arrival in Florida.

The security perimeter that surrounds Mar-a-Lago when the President is in residence has already been established, with traffic diverted along Ocean Boulevard away from the resort. Dozens of Secret Service agents and officers are already on the grounds, using dogs to screen vehicles and guests entering the club.

The Secret Service falls under the Department of Homeland Security, which is among the nine agencies and departments whose funding will expire at midnight Friday. In contingency plans submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, the Secret Service said nearly 6,000 of its employees are considered essential, meaning they would still need to report to work in a shutdown.

But until Congress and Trump approve new spending, those employees would go unpaid.

Some White House staffers have also traveled down ahead of the President, but are increasingly doubtful he will arrive here on Friday -- if at all.

Protectively preparing

At the White House, aides have protectively been preparing for a departure in case a deal can be struck. The President and first lady's suitcases have been packed, according to a person familiar with the matter, and some of the staffers who were supposed to travel with Trump also arrived to the White House Friday prepared to fly in the afternoon, just in case.

At Palm Beach International Airport, preparations for Air Force One's arrival had begun, including lining up dozens of yellow school buses to create a security barrier.

A billboard on the route from the airport to Mar-a-Lago has also been erected. From far away it looks like an official Trump sign, but when the words come into view, it becomes clear it's not: "Impeachment Now: Make America America Again." It's paid for by the liberal Mad Dog PAC.

The black, red and gold Trump-branded Boeing 757 is parked on the tarmac, and some of Trump's family is already here.

Donald Trump Jr. spoke on Thursday evening alongside his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle at Mar-a-Lago, which was hosting a gala event for Turning Point USA, the group for young conservatives. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and the activists Charlie Kirk and Candice Owens also spoke.

Mar-a-Lago employees have been told to prepare for any contingency, a person familiar with the instructions said. Planning had been underway for a Christmas Eve dinner followed by midnight mass at nearby Bethesda by the Sea church, along with Christmas dinner and a black tie New Year's Eve party. On January 5, Trump has also been expected to attend the Policeman's Ball at the club.

At Trump International Golf Course, across the bridge in West Palm Beach, police officers have already set up positions around the exterior where cameras have sometimes captured a glimpse of the President golfing. New signs have been posted along the fence warning "No Trespassing" in both English and Spanish.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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