Trump Seeks $8.6 Billion for Border Wall in 2020 Budget

President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget outline arrives on Capitol Hill at the House Budget Committee, in Washington, Monday morning. Trump’s new budget calls for billions more for his border wall, with steep cuts in domestic programs but increases for military spending. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (CN) – The budget President Donald Trump proposed Monday would cut spending by $2.7 trillion over 10 years, make certain welfare programs contingent on a work requirement and seek $8.6 billion to build his long-promised wall along the southern border.

Proposals like this kick off Congress’ work of funding the government and represents the administration’s wish-list of priorities for the next fiscal year. Few of the requests are likely to become law, especially given the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

But the request sets up another funding showdown with Congress over money for the border wall, mirroring the fight that led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history at the end of the 2018. 

The $8.6 billion Trump now seeks in border-wall funding would be in addition to the money Trump is leeching through his declaration of a national emergency. A senior administration official said the request is broken into two parts, with $5 billion from money going to the Department of Homeland Security explicitly for the project and $3.6 billion from military construction accounts.

As news came out Sunday that Trump would be requesting more money for a border wall, congressional leadership blasted the proposal as a nonstarter.

“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,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement. “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.”

Billed as the largest proposed spending cut in history, Trump’s budget calls for a 5 percent cut to nondefense spending, including $327 billion in savings over 10 years coming through changes to how welfare programs operate. The budget calls for the imposition of a work requirement for people between the ages of 18 and 65 who are able to work and participate in food stamps, Medicaid and federal housing programs.

At the same time, the budget proposal calls for a 5 percent increase to defense spending, up to $750 billion.

While many of the items in the budget are unlikely to gain congressional approval, the document does include proposals that may draw interest from Democrats, including nearly $200 billion in infrastructure spending and reforms aimed at lowering prescription drug prices.

The senior administration official said the White House is hopeful Democrats will embrace the proposal, which would include allowing generic drugs to come to the market faster and change rebate rules for drugs under the Medicaid program.

“We think that we’ve got some real serious reforms here that we’re hoping the Democrats will go along with us on,” the senior administration official said.

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