President Donald Trump will begin the week by setting up what will undoubtedly be a clash with Democrats in Congress. On Monday, the president will ask Congress for $8.6 billion in additional funding for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of his 2020 budget proposal. The proposal is almost certainly dead-on-arrival considering Trump had previously requested $5.7 billion to build a wall and the ensuing fight led to the longest government shutdown in history. When Trump didn’t get what he wanted, he declared a national emergency in order to be able to access the cash that had been denied by Congress. The new request will include $5 billion in funding for the department of Homeland Security and $3.6 billion for the Pentagon’s military construction budget.
The additional funding request was first reported by Reuters and confirmed by others before White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow did not deny it in an interview with Fox News Sunday. When anchor Chris Wallace asked him whether the additional $8.6 billion would spark “another budget fight over the wall,” Kudlow said it was the safe bet. “I suppose there will be,” he said. “I would just say that the whole issue of the wall and border security is of paramount importance. We have a crisis down there. I think the president has made that case very effectively. It’s a crisis of economics. It’s a crisis of crime and drugs. It’s a crisis of humanity. We have to be much tougher and have more constructive immigration policy, which we will be developing over a period of time.”
The money Trump is requesting would be in addition to what he already has access to for the wall. Congress approved almost $1.4 billion for border barriers and through the emergency declaration, Trump can get an additional $3.6 billion.
Democratic leaders immediately made it clear that the request was 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,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer 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.”
As part of the budget proposal, Trump will also seek a 5 percent cut “across the board” on domestic spending, Kudlow said. The exception would be defense spending that would be boosted by $750 billion as well as popular entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.