Trump to seek $8.6 bn for border wall in new budget
Washington, March 11 (IANS) US President Donald Trump is expected to seek $8.6 billion for his long-promised wall along the border with Mexico when he submits his 2020 congressional budget on Monday, likely igniting another funding standoff with Congress.
A senior administration official confirmed the figure, which is expected to be used to build or replace roughly 700 miles of barriers along the US-Mexico border, the Hill magazine reported.
The budget proposal also would include $3.6 million in military construction funding to help fund projects affected by the wall, according to the New York Times.
Trump earlier failed to extract extra funding for his wall that shut down parts of the federal government for a record 35 days. His fresh effort will likely lead to another showdown with Democrats who vowed to block his signature project.
"I would just say that the whole issue of the wall and border security is of paramount importance," said Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow. "We have a crisis down there."
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Kudlow said that "there will be" a fight over the issue in Congress.
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.
Reacting on news reports about Trump’s intended move, 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. We hope he learned his lesson."
Trump in December triggered a partial government shutdown when he demanded $5.7 billion in wall funding. He agreed after 35 days to reopen the government without wall funding, but continued to press lawmakers for $5.7 billion for the structure.
Congress ultimately approved $1.375 billion for border barriers and the President issued a national emergency to bypass Congress and spend roughly $8 billion to construct his long-desired border 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.