Wall Fight, Part III: Trump Wants Congress to Cough Up $8.6 Billion


If you thought that President Trump was using his emergency declaration to avoid another two years of prolonged budget fighting with Congress, think again. According to Fox News, the president will seek $8.6 billion in new border wall funding when he submits his budget to Congress for the next fiscal year. While there’s no reason to think that Democrats will be in any more generous mood now than they were last month, the inclusion of the request is an interesting one given what we’ve already been through this year. Namely, one long government shutdown, one reluctant surrender on the part of the president, and one declaration of national emergency. Where does it go from here?

From Fox News:

According to the sources, Trump will look to secure $5 billion from Congress, plus $3.6 billion from the military construction budget, for the fiscal year 2020. The request is coming on top of the $8.1 billion Trump already has access to, which includes money he’s trying to shift from military accounts after declaring a national emergency.

Trump invoked the emergency declaration last month after Congress denied his request for $5.7 billion. Instead, Congress approved nearly $1.4 billion for the border barriers, far less than he wanted.

Armed with the $8.1 billion of wall funding currently available in the fiscal year 2019 budget, and the approximately 122 miles of wall completed or in progress from the last two fiscal years, the Trump administration already has the money to build more than half of the targeted 722 miles of wall along the southern border, Fox News is told.

In a joint statement, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in no uncertain terms that they would not come off the money.

“President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico,” Schumer and Pelosi said. “Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.

We suppose this budget puts additional pressure on Republicans to support the building of the wall, and it will give Trump another talking point on the campaign trail next year, but it’s unlikely we’ll see anything so dramatic as another shutdown. The lines in the sand are drawn clearly, and no one’s moving. Unless the border declaration survives legal scrutiny, our only hope for a wall will come with a red wave election in 2020. Hopefully, that’s exactly what we’ll see.


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