Donald Trump appears to be setting up a new fight with Democrats in Congress, with reports that he will demand $8.6 billion in new funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
As the Daily Mail reported, Trump will ask Congress on Monday to give him the new funding to build the border wall, which the report noted is more than six times what Congress has allocated for border projects in the first two fiscal years of Trump’s presidency. Trump has already invoked his emergency powers to re-allocate $6.5 billion in funding for the border wall, which came after Democrats refused to give Trump the $5.7 billion he had been demanding.
The new demand seems likely to spark another conflict between Trump and Democrats in Congress, who have been steadfast in their refusal to give any funding for the border wall. Democrats said they view the wall as immoral and noted that it is one of the least effective methods of providing security at the U.S. border, instead insisting on a package that included more funding for surveillance and other security measures. Many Democrats also pointed out that Trump repeatedly said during the 2016 campaign that he would force Mexico to pay for the wall, a promise that has since shifted to his demands for funding from Congress.
The request to Congress would allow Trump to make good on his campaign promise and earn some much-needed momentum going into his 2020 re-election campaign. As one senior Trump administration official told The Washington Post, the latest funding request would allow Trump’s administration to complete at least 722 miles of new barrier, which the official said would be Trump’s goal.
Trump officials continued his administration’s stance that there is a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said that Trump is not backing down from his demand for funding to build the border wall.
The Pentagon is planning to tap $1 billion in leftover funds from military pay and pension accounts to help Donald Trump pay for his border wall. According to Sen. Dick Durbin, "It's coming out of military pay and pensions. $1 billion. That's the plan." https://t.co/hh69By1Z50— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) March 10, 2019
“I would just say that the whole issue of the wall, of border security, is of paramount importance. We have a crisis down there. I think the president has made that case very effectively,” Kudlow said.
“He’s going to stay with his wall, and he’s going to stay with the border security theme. I think it’s essential.”
Donald Trump’s latest demand for border wall funding is likely to be turned down by Democrats in Congress again, as they did last year. It is not yet clear if Trump is willing to force another government shutdown in seeking the funds, however.