Does the Spending Bill Include Border Wall Funding?
Congress on Wednesday unveiled a $1.3 trillion spending package that does not appear to include border wall funding or protections for Dreamers.
The omnibus spending bill does include $1.2 billion for border security and $641 million for fences and other obstacles, but does not allow for the construction of a concrete wall or the implementation of new technology to help secure the border. The bill also lacks a measure to defund sanctuary cities.
“Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan don’t want a border wall; they detest the idea of it,” said one Congressional insider. “They are trying to sell the president on the idea they’ll fund it in another bill when they know that won’t happen.”
The bill includes more than $3.2 billion for infrastructure and railway projects and specifically allocates over $450 million for the Gateway tunnel, a pet project of Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) that would connect New Jersey with New York City. Even with federal funding, the Gateway tunnel will cost taxpayers some $30 billion to complete.
“It’s troubling when we get a tunnel and we don’t get a wall,” said Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows (R-NC).
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (R) slammed the bill as the “worst bill our leaders have ever allowed to come to the floor,” adding that it is “not…anywhere close to consistent to what we said we would do when they elected us in 2016.”
Critics say the bill represents a lost opportunity for Trump, who might not get another chance to secure funding for the border wall. It was also the perfect opportunity for the Dems to enact legislative protections for Dreamers. But neither side would agree to the other’s demands.
“President Trump had an opportunity to deliver on two promises. One, build the wall. Two, to sign a ‘bill of love’ for Dreamers. His desire to slash legal immigration and increase immigration enforcement makes delivering on these promises impossible,” says Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum. “To put it another way: Trump had two birds in hand; now, he’s got nothing.”
The 2,232-page measure will likely be the last major bill to pass Congress this year, and it is unlikely that either issue will be solved any time soon.
“We have Dreamers that need to be taken care of,” said Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R). “It’s the way for the White House to get what it wanted on the border.”
Editor’s note: The media is all over the place on this, some say it doesn’t include any of the wall, others say it covers 100 miles. Some say Trump supports the bill, others say he is angry. Personally I agree with Rush Limbaugh’s comment, that Trump will not sign a bill that does not include the wall.