Trump’s fund­ing re­quest for bor­der wall hits snag among some Repub­li­cans

Metro USA (New York) - - News -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s call for $1.5 bil­lion this year to help build a wall along the bor­der with Mex­ico could be in jeop­ardy as fel­low Repub­li­cans in Congress weigh de­lay­ing a de­ci­sion on the re­quest.

Repub­li­can Sen. Roy Blunt, a mem­ber of his party’s lead­er­ship, told re­porters on Tuesday that money for the wall likely would not be cou­pled with a spend­ing bill that must pass by April 28 to avoid shut­ting down fed­eral agen­cies whose fund­ing ex­pires then.

Blunt said the must-do fund­ing “comes to­gether bet­ter” with­out Trump’s ad­di­tional re­quest for the bor­der wall and mil­i­tary pro­grams and could be con­sid­ered “at a later time.”

Democrats are threat­en­ing to block the bill fund­ing fed­eral agen­cies from April 29 to Sept. 30, the end of the cur­rent fis­cal year, if money for the bor­der wall is in­cluded.

They ob­ject to one of Trump’s premier 2016 cam­paign prom­ises, say­ing it is poorly planned and that there are other bor­der se­cu­rity mea­sures al­ready con­structed or un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

The ini­tia­tive has also faced re­sis­tance among Repub­li­cans, in­clud­ing law­mak­ers rep­re­sent­ing some bor­der towns. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment would have to pur­chase land in many lo­ca­tions in or­der to con­struct the ed­i­fice, which could make con­struc­tion costs soar.

Reuters re­ported the wall could end up cost­ing as much as $21.6 bil­lion, far more than the $12 bil­lion Trump cited.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mario Diaz-Balart also ex­pressed skep­ti­cism about Congress’ abil­ity to ap­prove funds for the wall, given the su­per-ma­jor­ity vote needed in the Se­nate for most major leg­is­la­tion.

Asked about the wall, Diaz-Balart, a se­nior mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee and a voice on im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, said: “I’m al­ways will­ing to look at other things we can do to try to get that 60-vote thresh­old” on bor­der and in­te­rior se­cu­rity.

GETTY IMAGES

A U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol agent checks the area near the bor­der fence in Colum­bus, New Mex­ico, on Feb. 19, 2017, on the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

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