The White House has signaled that it will accept a budget from Congress that includes a fraction of the money Donald Trump has asked for for his border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. News and World Report is reporting.
For two weeks, the government has been open and operational, following a 35-day shutdown over parts of December 2018 and January 2019, thanks to a temporary spending bill signed by Trump. With another shutdown looming next week when the temporary bill expires, Congress has been working to present Trump with a budget that will prevent a repeat.
One thing that won’t be in the new spending bill, however, is the $5.7 billion Trump wanted for the border wall — the very thing that caused the previous government shutdown. Instead, as Fox News reports, “congressional dealmakers” have put together a spending package that includes something closer to $1.6 billion.
Trump has signaled that he’ll accept the deal.
The Border Wall That Has Failed To Materialize
Trump made the border wall a focus of his platform even before he announced his candidacy for president, initially saying that Mexico would pay for it, as Countable reports.
“I will build a great wall ― and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me ― and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
The scope of the wall, and its funding, have shifted over the course of the years, as Trump has found little cooperation, either in Congress or from Mexico.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 9, 2019
The wall was initially planned to be a solid, thick wall, with an estimated price tag north of $20 billion.
However, Mexico has refused to pay for it, the price has gone down to $5.7 billion, the solid wall has been replaced by a desire for “steel slats” (as Vox reported in January), and Congress has refused to give Trump much more than a couple billion dollars, with that money going to improvements to existing sections of the border fence, not new construction of a wall.
Indications are that Trump and his team are willing to concede that the political will doesn’t exist in Congress to get it done. With Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, any budget given to Trump is unlikely to include border wall funding. Even Republicans in both houses of Congress lack the political will, says Fox News, to get the wall built.