Senate GOP plans to divert health, education funds to border wall

Thursday, August 8, 2019
By Paul Martin

$5 billion move would set up clash with Democratic House over fiscal 2020 spending

Paul M. Krawzak
Aug 8, 2019

Senate Republicans are looking to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall in part by putting about $5 billion less in the largest domestic spending bill, several people with knowledge of the process said.

That move signals a likely fight over wall funding, as well as over Trump’s ability to reprogram or transfer funds to the border, when the fiscal 2020 appropriations process resumes after Congress returns in September.

According to several people familiar with the process, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican, wrote an allocation for the fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that is about $5 billion lower than it would have been to provide funding for the wall.

Congress and the White House reached agreement on a budget deal raising discretionary spending caps for fiscal 2020-21, clearing the way for the Senate Appropriations Committee to begin marking up spending bills. The panel has held back action thus far in anticipation of a bipartisan, bicameral topline agreement, finally reached late last month.

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