Panel un­veils $1.6B plan for bor­der wall

Stiff op­po­si­tion for prior fund­ing

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By An­drew Tay­lor

WASHINGTON» A House panel Tues­day un­veiled leg­is­la­tion to be­gin build­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der. Mex­ico, how­ever, will not be foot­ing the bill.

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 this spring.

Democrats ob­jected to the fund­ing, and sig­nif­i­cant op­po­si­tion sur­faced among Repub­li­cans as well, many of whom have prob­lems with the wall. The administration and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans took a pass on forc­ing the is­sue in May but vowed to fight for the wall this sum­mer and fall.

Dur­ing last year’s cam­paign, Trump bragged that Mex­ico would pay for the wall, but he’s never come up with a se­ri­ous plan to de­liver on his boast. In­stead, the $1.6 bil­lion down pay­ment for the wall will be added to the govern­ment’s al­most $20 tril­lion debt.

The wall money is em­bed­ded in a $44 bil­lion home­land se­cu­rity fund­ing bill re­leased Tues­day by the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee. A House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions sub­com­mit­tee is slated to give the mea­sure a pre­lim­i­nary OK on Wed­nes­day. GOP lead­ers hope to pass the mea­sure be­fore ad­journ­ing for the Au­gust break.

The fight over fund­ing the wall is a ma­jor ob­sta­cle to fund­ing govern­ment agency op­er­a­tions for the bud­get year be­gin­ning Oct. 1 and some con­ser­va­tives are threat­en­ing to shut the govern­ment down if the wall is not in­cluded.

Rep. Mo Brooks, RAla., has raised the threat as part of his pri­mary cam­paign against ap­pointed Sen. Luther Strange, threat­en­ing to fil­i­buster any fund­ing bill that fails to in­clude money for the wall project.

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