President Donald Trump will ask Congress for an additional $8.6 billion for wall construction on the U.S. -Mexico border, a move that will likely set up another fierce battle over border security funding. It's the first since Democrats won control of the House in November's mid-term elections, and it'll will kick off months of bargaining over his spending requests and proposed funding cuts for many domestic programs.
The US Congress must rule on a final version of the fiscal 2020 bill by October 1st, or face a new government shut down.
In a new spin on what has become a consistent ploy, the U.S. president will again seek to gain congressional approval for his favorite 2016 campaign promise: the construction of an impassable wall to separate the border between the United States and Mexico, according to multiple reports.
"It gives the president the ability to say he has fulfilled his commitment to gain operational control of the south-west border", an administration official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said of the budget request.
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"We have provided the course of action, the strategy and the request to finish the job. It's a question of, will Congress allow us to finish the job", a second administration official said.
Trump wanted $5.7 billion but Congress appropriated only $1.375 billion.
So far, only 111 miles of barrier have either been built or are underway.
Through the national emergency, Trump can tap an additional $3.6 billion from military accounts and shift it to building the wall.
The budget proposal would include another $3.6 billion in military construction to fund projects delayed by the wall.
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Trump will propose an overall 5% increase to the Department of Homeland Security budget, including $3.3bn, or 22% more, for CBP, and $1.2bn more for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a 16% hike, officials said.
In the CBO's monthly budget review for December 2018, it estimated that the federal budget deficit would hit $317 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019-$92 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year.
Trump's budget proposal looks to hire more almost 3,000 law enforcement personnel for the agencies involved in border security and construction and about 100 immigration judge teams. The entire length of the U.S. -Mexico border is 1,954 miles, with most walls located on the border's western half.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) also said Trump's budget is dead on arrival, explaining the Democratic-held House along with a Senate that loves to fund military projects will never buy it. Many lawmakers accused Trump of overstepping his constitutional powers by declaring an emergency to free up the funds. Trump is expected to veto the resolution. If the funding fails to pass, it could lead to another government shutdown.
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