White House Border Wall Request Sets Up Clash With Democrats
Administration officials would use the savings to cover the cost of two of President Trump's prized campaign pledges, trimming the federal deficit and building a wall along the US border with Mexico.
Trump's budget also cuts $667 million state and local grants managed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration and requires state and local authorities to match 25% of funding for all grants geared toward preparing for emergencies and disasters.
Trump keeps saying the wall is "ahead of schedule" but it's still unclear what that schedule is or what the wall will even look like.
Appropriation fights come to the brink of government shutdown often; it happened as recently as December 2016, when Democrats threatened to initiate a shutdown if Republicans didn't pass the Miners Protection Act, which would have guarded former miners' health care and benefits.
He also wants to boost immigration courts by $80 million to pay for 75 additional teams of judges. Funding for the government runs out in late April. The White House, which is still looking at proposals from government contractors, seems to be buying time - asking for some funding first while it decides how to build. In Washington, Democrats have already vowed to reject any spending bill that includes money for the border wall. The logic, according to GOP aides, is that most lawmakers will feel uncomfortable voting against the wall if the funding is combined with money necessary to help troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The intent of this procurement is to acquire and evaluate available wall prototypes and provide some initial construction of some wall segments, but is not intended as the vehicle for the procurement of the total wall solution for the border with Mexico", the contract listing from Customs and Border Patrol states.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), noting the date through which the government is funded.
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"I prefer to see a plan first before we start appropriating money", Sen. "And I've got some questions".
Kenneth Madsen, a geography professor at The Ohio State University, said the agency now appears open to both a concrete wall that would block pedestrians as well as other barriers - such as a fence - that might only stop vehicles.
"I think that wall would be an very bad symbol for the United States", said Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) told Fox News in January.
Some Republicans believe that combining the wall request with other military spending could be an effective way to pressure Democrats to vote for the bill.
Trump also asked for $15 million to jump-start a program to require all USA employers to check every new hire against a federal work authorization database called E-Verify.
"We're going to have some strategic fencing".
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