Three sources closely involved in the budget process have told Fox News that President Trump is expected to request $8.6 billion in additional funding for the border wall in the new budget. He is also seeking $2.7 trillion in non-defense spending cuts which the administration claims, if enacted and sustained, would lead to a balanced federal budget by 2034. Although we all know that will never happen, any progress toward such a goal would be a positive.
On Sunday night, the Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russ Vought issued a statement which said: “In the last two years, President Trump and this Administration have prioritized reining in reckless Washington spending. The Budget that we have presented to Congress and the American people … embodies fiscal responsibility, and takes aim at Washington’s waste, fraud, and abuse. Our national debt nearly doubled under the previous Administration and now stands at more than $22 trillion. This Budget shows that we can return to fiscal sanity without halting our economic resurgence while continuing to invest in critical priorities.”
So far, funds obtained from fiscal years 2017 and 2018 are expected to pay for 122 miles of the planned 722 mile wall. The $8.1 billion of wall funding currently available from the fiscal year 2019 budget (this includes money obtained through national emergency declaration) will build the wall beyond the half-way point. The additional $8.6 will complete it.
Predictably, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately rejected Trump’s plan and issued a joint statement which said:
President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico. Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.
At a time when our country faces challenges about jobs for the future, this money would better be spent on rebuilding America, and on education and workforce development for jobs for the 21st century.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow spoke to Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday and announced that Trump “wants a 5 percent cut “across the board” on all domestic spending as part of his proposed 2020 budget.”
Kudlow told Wallace that “It will be a tough budget. We’re going to do our own caps this year and I think it’s long overdue.” He also said that yes, they expect pushback from Congress.
It goes without saying that all Democrats, and even some Republicans, will be unhappy with this budget and that a “showdown” between Trump and Congress looms.
Still, conditions at the border continue to deteriorate as more and more migrants arrive at the border every day. Last week, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan told reporters, “The system is well beyond capacity, and remains at the breaking point,”
Not even the New York Times denies the growing crisis at the border. They reported last week that “the number of migrant families crossing the southwest border has hit an 11-year high, causing major humanitarian concerns.”
Trump reiterated the need for the wall on Sunday in the tweet below.
Border Patrol and Law Enforcement has apprehended (captured) large numbers of illegal immigrants at the Border. They won’t be coming into the U.S. The Wall is being built and will greatly help us in the future, and now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2019
Trump knows he won’t receive all or even half of what he’s asking for in the coming budget showdown, but he sure is fighting like a champion. Even if the wall is only partially built by the time the election season begins in earnest, no one can accuse him of ignoring his campaign promises. In the face of unprecedented opposition not only from Congress, but from a weaponized DOJ and FBI which worked together to destroy him, he has prevailed. He can point to his record of accomplishments while the Democrats can point to two years of nothing but trying to stop Trump. Their lack of accomplishments will show voters the dangers of a Democratic majority in the House. Let them obstruct. Let them investigate. Because while they’re concentrating on all that negativity, they aren’t legislating. They’re not focusing on the issues they promised voters they would address. They’re squandering what could have been a great opportunity. Let’s hope it continues.