Trump expected to seek $8.6B for border wall in new budget

Jeannie Matthews
March 11, 2019

Donald Trump will on Monday will ask Congress for an additional $8.6bn to pay for the wall he has promised to build on the border with Mexico, officials familiar with his 2020 budget request said. Others have predicted lower growth.

It was Democrats that emerged triumphant from that clash and their control of the House makes it highly unlikely the president will receive the money he is asking for in his 2020 budget. It will not. A bruising battle with Congress over wall funding resulted in a five-week partial federal government shutdown that ended in January.

Trump in December demanded $5.7 billion to help fund massive wall construction along the U.S. -Mexico border.

The proposal is a steep ask from the president, whose previous request for $5.7 billion in border wall funding was denied by lawmakers and set off the longest government shutdown in US history.

The wall with Mexico punctuated Trump's campaign for the White House, and it's expected to again be featured in his 2020 re-election effort. If Congress and the White House fail to agree to lift mandatory spending caps set in a 2011 law, steep automatic cuts in many programs would kick in.

"It gives the president the ability to say he has fulfilled his commitment to gain operational control of the southwest border", an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters of the budget request. They also must pass a measure to raise the debt ceiling in September or October or they will risk having the government falling behind on its obligations, something that could rattle the economy and financial markets.

"We have provided the course of action, the strategy and the request to finish the job".

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But after the government funding was settled in February, President Trump then announced a national emergency that would allow him to spend $8 billion to build his wall.

The budget is projected to balance over 15 years and projects that the economy will grow on average by about 3 percent over the next decade, the senior administration official said. Trump took that step after Congress approved almost $1.4 billion for border barriers, far less than the $5.7 billion he wanted.

So far, only 111 miles of barrier have either been built or are underway. About $5 billion is slated to come from the Department of Homeland Security, with $3.6 billion coming from military construction funds.

By signaling on Monday that he wants billions of dollars in additional border wall funding to be part of any deal, Trump is sending an early signal to lawmakers of what his demands will be.

The request would more than double the $8.1 billion already available to the president after he declared a national emergency at the border in order to circumvent Congress after lawmakers refused his funding demands.

Additionally the House passed a resolution denying President Trump emergency powers to build his border wall and it's now in the Senate, where enough Republican senators have expressed support for it that it could pass the upper chamber.

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