Trump to seek another $8.6 billion for border wall

Saul Bowman
March 12, 2019

To stay within the statutory budget caps, the budget funds national defense at the cap level, $576 billion, and shifts $164 billion of the defense spending to an overseas contingency operations, or OCO, fund, which some fiscal hawks will view as an accounting stunt. While the administration will tout the formality as a big deal full of big cuts, the president's request will largely go ignored by Congress when they get to moving on the real federal funding action.

"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", the Democratic leaders said in a statement. They said money "would be better spent on rebuilding America".

Congressional Democrats and Republicans "are highly motivated" to reach another two-year budget deal and "the chances are good there will be another negotiated budget outcome", said Thornberry of Texas.

President Donald Trump's fiscal year 2020 budget proposal will be released today, revealing his priorities for the next decade and beyond.

'The border situation is deteriorating by the day.

The budget proposal "gives the president the ability to say he has fulfilled his commitment to gain operational control of the southwest border", an administration official told Reuters.

While pushing down spending in some areas, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the proposal will seek to increase funding in others to align with the president's priorities, according to one official. There's a 10 percent increase in spending on veterans and money to fight the opioid drug crisis.

"With severe cuts to essential programs and services that would leave our nation less safe and secure, the Trump budget is as risky as it is predictable".

Unless the White House and Congress reach a spending deal, automatic spending caps from the 2011 law will kick in on October 1, adding another level of urgency to the fall deadlines. The president has resisted big, bipartisan budget deals that break budget caps, threatening to veto one a year ago. In addition to the September 30, 2019 deadline to reach a spending agreement, lawmakers believe they will also need to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling around that time. Kudlow says Trump's budget "points a steady glide path" toward lower federal spending and federal borrowing as a share of the nation's economy.

Extending the Fast Act must "at a minimum, address the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund in a fiscally responsible manner, focus on nationally and regionally significant projects (emphasising projects on the Interstate Highway System and other nationally strategic freight networks), support emerging technologies and innovation, encourage the revenue mechanisms of the future, and promote more efficient and effective permitting". The budget cuts non-defense spending even below the budget caps Congress set for this fiscal year by an average of 5 percent.

Overall, the White House looks to secure funding - via this year's budget, Trump's emergency declaration and previous appropriations - for 722 miles (1,162 km) of border barrier, using an estimated cost of about $25 million per mile of wall or fencing.

That previous request led to an impasse that resulted in a 35-day partial shutdown of the USA government, the longest ever.

The House voted February 26 to block the emergency declaration, and enough Republicans have said they'll also vote against it for it to pass in the Senate.

Top Democrats reacted swiftly to reports that Trump was seeking more money for the wall, reflecting how they are girding for the fight and believe that public sentiment is on their side.

While Mr. Trump made the claim that Mexico would pay for the wall at least 15 times over the course of the 2016 campaign, he's changed his tune regarding just how they would be contributing to the wall project.

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