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.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540083

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798481529
Mobile41283809
Madison35157506
Tuscaloosa25925455
Shelby25302249
Montgomery24723593
Baldwin21411310
Lee15993172
Calhoun14574319
Morgan14425280
Etowah13925353
Marshall12280225
Houston10648282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10070151
St. Clair9948245
Cullman9768194
Lauderdale9460243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8341176
Walker7261278
Autauga7005108
Jackson6840112
Blount6773139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5581118
Dale4877113
Russell445738
Chilton4373113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394877
Chambers3596123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303098
Winston275873
Bibb264764
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219169
Fayette212862
Henry189943
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178141
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Low pressure off to the west of our area and high pressure to the east over the next few days. In between, in our area the battle will linger some scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms for a few more days.
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