Trump to ask for $8.6 bn for border wall in new budget
Washington, March 11 (IANS) US President Donald Trump is expected to request $8.6 billion for border wall construction in his upcoming budget proposal, multiple US media reported on Sunday.
The White House is expected to release its budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 Monday, multiple reports cited unnamed government sources as saying Trump plans to double down on his bid to construct a barrier on the US border with Mexico, requesting more money than the 5.7 billion he asked for last year.
According to the government source, the money will be used to build or replace roughly 700 miles (1127 Km) of barriers along the US-Mexico border, Xinhua news agency reported.
Fiscal Year 2020 will begin on October 1, the US Congress must pass the budget prior to that date to ensure that the federal government can operate after fiscal year 2020 begins.
Speaking with media on Sunday, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said building the wall is of "paramount importance" and that he expected Trump to "stay with the wall."
The reports triggered a swift rebuke from top Congressional Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement that they would block the budget proposal containing the $8.6 billion wall money.
"President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shutdown the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall," the joint statement 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."
In December 2018, when the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives refused to pass a spending bill allowing $5.7 billion for the border wall as asked by Trump, the US federal government went into partial shutdown. Trump later agreed to sign off on a spending bill with $1.375 billion for border fencing projects to reopen the government, but tried to circumvent Congress by declaring a national emergency that would allow him to tap into other funds to build the wall.
The US Congress is expected to block the national emergency in the near future, as multiple Republican lawmakers anxious to preserve Congress’ power of the purse voiced their opposition to the national emergency.