Homeland Security Bill Provides $1.6B For Border Wall

Lawrence Kim
July 12, 2017

House Republicans put forth a new spending bill Tuesday that includes $1.6 billion for the construction of President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

On the campaign trail, Trump frequently vowed he would make Mexico pay for the wall.

The allocation includes new border fencing along the border, 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 more officers for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in the country.

The $44.3 billion spending bill for fiscal year 2018 earmarks $1.6 billion to begin construction of the wall, including "bollards and levee improvements". Democrats have said they are unwilling to vote for a bill that funds Trump's border wall or "deportation force".

The GOP-crafted budget would have to pass the full House and get approval in the Senate, where Democrats and even some Republican lawmakers have previously expressed skepticism over the project. Trump took to Twitter to suggest that a "good" shutdown may be needed to achieve his spending priorities such as the border wall.

"Keeping Americans safe by protecting our homeland is a top priority", House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter told the paper.

DHS spokesman David Lapan said the bill would move the wall beyond the realm of prototypes and into one that is closer to reality. Earlier Tuesday, Lapan said that Kelly did not raise the prospect of Mexico paying for the wall when he was in Mexico last week meeting with officials.

Including border funding could help House Speaker Paul Ryan head off an uprising among conservative Republicans.

The move by the House Appropriations Committee again puts the Trump administration and its allies on Capitol Hill on a collision course with Democrats who oppose the wall and succeeded in blocking a request by Trump to deliver the money when passing an omnibus spending measure earlier this spring.

Last month, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat of NY, sent a letter expressing concern "with the president's Fiscal Year 2018 request for a very expensive, ineffective new wall along the southern border with Mexico", and rejected the idea of funding it.

But the fight over funding the wall is a major obstacle to funding government agency operations for the budget year beginning October 1.

Congress has until the end of September before current funding for DHS expires.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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