Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

U.S. agency delays start of bidding on Trump border wall

U.S. agency delays start of bidding on Trump border wall

During the campaign, Trump's supporters would regularly break into enthusiastic chants of "Build that wall!" at rallies when the candidate would discuss his plans for border security and immigration.

"We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump's Administration", the Senate Democratic leadership team, along with Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Roll Call.

We're going to save so much money from crime, from so numerous problems that led to poverty, and Mexico will have a chance to surge and be one of the top 10 economies in the [world] that it hasn't ever been, but has always had the potential to be.

The administration will request a boost in funding for the Department of Homeland Security to enhance border security along with $1.5 billion in initial funding to construct the wall, Office of Budget Management Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters during a conference call. Mulvaney explained how this budget helps fulfil the President's promises he made on the campaign trail that includes rebuilding the military, strengthening the border and law enforcement and helping veterans without adding to the deficit. "We don't have to be 100 percent efficient to get the money we need to pay for the wall relatively quickly".

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The emerging split is likely to add tension to upcoming budget negotiations created to keep the government open past the end of April.

The most important line items, however, are the $1.2 billion in additional money Mr. Trump wants in 2017 and $1.4 billion more in 2018 to step up processing and detention of illegal immigrants. This would be only a fraction of the border wall's estimated cost. He said the funding would allow the administration to start the program.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other top Democrats warned GOP leaders this week that they are willing to risk a shutdown fight to block the wall. The White House, which is still looking at proposals from government contractors, seems to be buying time - asking for some funding first while it decides how to build. R. Gil Kerlikowske, who served as former President Barack Obama's commissioner of the United States Customs and Border Protection agency, said that when he left the agency in January, it was struggling to fill already budgeted positions, much less drastically expand the work force and infrastructure supporting it. Mexico's government has said it will not pay for a wall.

But in the Senate, it's increasingly clear that is not a widely shared sentiment. "Not "the fence" - defense", said McCain.

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