President Trump lashed out at Congress on Thursday over the lack of funding for his border wall in a recently passed spending bill, stoking a fight that GOP lawmakers had hoped to avoid until later this year.
“I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?” Trump asked in a tweet.
“Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!”
— overpasses4America (@o4america) September 20, 2018
The Senate voted 93-7 on Tuesday to pass a sweeping $854 billion spending bill that includes funding for the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education, which make up the bulk of government spending.
Of the seven senators who opposed the bill, six were Republicans who joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in voting “no.”
The House is expected to take up the funding legislation next week, ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline to keep the government funded.
The Senate bill includes a continuing resolution that extends funding for all other agencies through Dec. 7, after the midterm elections.
The inclusion of the resolution in the Department of Homeland Security bill was intended to put off a contentious debate on Trump’s proposed border wall.
The president has repeatedly chastised lawmakers for failing to pass stricter immigration laws and has requested full funding for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Earlier this year, Trump said he’d be willing to shut down the government if he did not receive enough money for the wall, but has since backed off that threat.
In an exclusive interview with Hill.TV on Tuesday, Trump hinted that he intends take an executive action on immigration in the coming weeks, though he declined to specify what it might be.
President Donald Trump recently said that he’s considering using military resources to finish construction of his long-promised border wall instead of relying on Congress to fund the project through the Homeland Security Department’s budget.
He also wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of a government shutdown if Democrats continue to confound his efforts to appropriate money for the project on the U.S.-Mexico border.
‘We have two options,’ he told DailyMail.com aboard Air Force One as he flew from Billings, Montana to Fargo, North Dakota. ‘We have military, we have homeland security.’
He was asked specifically about using the Army Corps of Engineers as a taxpayer-funded construction crew.
Trump said he would prefer to fund the ambitious construction ‘the old-fashioned way – get it from Congress – but I have other options if I have to.’
He’s seeking about $25 billion.
The possibility of diverting Pentagon funding and assets to build a border wall is a hole card the president is holding but has never directly acknowledged before.
Two Defense Department officials told DailyMail.com in August that the Army Corps of Engineers could take on the task.
‘They build levees that hold back massive walls of water,’ one said of the agency. ‘They can build one to hold back drugs and human traffickers.’
The White House appears headed for another confrontation with Congress over an increase in funding for the project after securing $1.6 billion for 2007 and the same amount for this year.
A senior White House official said Thursday that the money was ‘basically a down-payment on the thing’.
The possibility looms that the president will refuse to sign the next federal budget, due September 30, if lawmakers don’t go along with more installments. That would trigger a government shutdown.
‘If it were up – I don’t want to say “up to me,” because it is up to me – I would do it,’ he said aboard Air Force One, ‘because I think it’s a great political issue.’
But he said some Republicans in Congress, facing tough re-election fights, have counseled more patience.
‘They have races, they’re doing well, they’re up,’ Trump explained. ‘And you know, the way they look at it: might be good, might be bad.’
Thursday night in Billings, he told a Fox News Channel interviewer that ‘we need Republicans elected in the midterms’.
‘We are getting the wall done. But I’ve had so many people, good people, great people – they would rather not do [it] before [November]. They’d rather do it right after the election.’
Trump said he still wants to persuade Congress – preferably one reinforced with more Republicans – to write the checks he wants.
‘Politically speaking, I’d rather get it through Congress. If we don’t, I’m looking at that option very seriously,’ he said aboard Air Force One on Friday, referring to the Defense Department.
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday evening the president assured a crowd of about 600 supporters that ‘we’re building the wall!’
‘It works so easily!’ he said. ‘They say walls don’t work? Tell Israel.’
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 20th, 2018