Budget showdown looms over Trump’s expected request for border wall funding

President Donald Trump will request an additional $8.6 billion in border wall funding as part of his administration’s 2020 budget proposal, according to a senior administration official, potentially setting the stage for another government shutdown.

The White House is expected to propose taking $5 billion from Customs and Border Patrol and $3.6 billion from Department of Defense military projects.

The proposal is a steep ask from the president, whose previous request for $5.7 billion in border wall funding was denied by lawmakers and set off the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Despite active work on a bipartisan deal, the president declared a national emergency in February to secure the funding his administration felt was necessary to build barriers along the southern border.

Democrats on Sunday were quick to announce Trump’s new border wall funding proposal dead on arrival. In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer threatened a repeat of the government shutdown that ended in January.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, FILE
Federal air traffic controller union members protest the partial government shutdown in a rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 10, 2019.

“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,” Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement.

“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,” the statement continued.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow acknowledged that the budget’s reported spending cuts and spike in border wall funding could result in another ugly fight between the White House and Capitol Hill.

“I would just say that the whole issue of the wall and border security is of paramount importance,” Kudlow said on Fox News Sunday. “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. So, yes, he’s going to stay with his wall, and he’s going to stay with the border security and I think it’s essential,” Kudlow said.