Congress’ Leaders Exclude Border Wall Funding from $296 Billion Budget Deal

Thursday, February 8, 2018
By Paul Martin

8 Feb 2018

The two-year $296 billion budget deal includes no money for the border wall but does direct the Department of Homeland Security to $800 million for various disaster-related construction and procurement projects.

The exclusion of border-wall funding in the two-year budget planning document does not block border-wall funds from being included in the final appropriations bills for 2018. Both the Senate and House draft bills now include roughly $1.5 billion for wall construction in 2018.

President Donald Trump has called for a $25 billion fund to build the wall over several years.

Once the two-year budget plan is approved, legislators will try to finish the 2018 appropriations bill during the next six weeks — and Democrats will likely oppose any significant border-wall spending for 2018.

GOP leaders did not press to include border-wall funding in the two-year budget but instead allowed determined Democrats to exclude the funding. During the closed-door negotiations, the GOP concessions on the wall were likely swapped for gains in their priority projects.

Small-government conservatives oppose the two-year budget plan because it grows government spending by a huge $296 billion over two years, including $160 billion for national security and $90 billion for disaster relief.

Pro-amnesty Democrats oppose the budget plan because it does not include an amnesty for 3.25 million younger illegals.

The budget plan does include approval for a series of construction projects and various”operations and support” spending categories. For example, the construction spending includes this passage on page 41:

For an additional amount for Acquisition, Construction, and Improvements’’ for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Matthew, $718,919,000, to remain available until September 30, 2022: Provided, That, not later than 60 days after enactment of this subdivision, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or her designee, shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate a detailed expenditure plan for funds appropriated under this heading.

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