Trump Wants Another $8.6 Billion For His Border Wall

President Trump will ask for $8.6 billion for his border wall in his Fiscal Year 2020 budget. He's unlikely to get it.

President Trump is set to ask Congress for an additional $8.6 billion in funding for his border wall:

WASHINGTON — President Trump will ask Congress on Monday for $8.6 billion in additional funding to build a wall along the United States border with Mexico, a person familiar with the details said on Sunday.

The request, which will come as part of Mr. Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal, is certain to reignite a conflict with Democrats that led to a record-long government shutdown this year. Mr. Trump had previously requested $5.7 billion to build a wall but was rebuffed by both Democrats and Republicans, who approved a spending bill that did not include the funding.

That resulted in Mr. Trump declaring a national emergency on the border with Mexico to access billions of dollars that Congress refused to give him to build a wall there.

The new budget request is intended to allow for the completion of 700 miles of barrier, which is the total that Mr. Trump intends to build, mostly new but some refurbished.

Larry Kudlow, the head of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, confirmed the request for wall money on “Fox News Sunday.” Mr. Kudlow added that he supposes “there will be” a fight over that spending in Congress.

“I would just say that the whole issue of the wall and border security is of paramount importance,” Mr. Kudlow said. “We have a crisis down there.”

Mr. Kudlow also defended proposed cuts to government programs that the budget is expected to include, and said the administration projects the economy will grow 3 percent this year, a forecast well above what the Federal Reserve and other outside economists expect.

Realistically speaking, of course, this budget proposal is effectively “dead on arrival” in Congress in much the same way that previous Presidential budget proposals have been regardless of who has been in the White House.

While Congress does tend to use these proposals as something of a benchmark which it uses as a guide to prepare its own budget plan, these plans tend to mean absolutely nothing in the end. In part, this is because the actual budgeting work comes not in the budget plans submitted by either the White House or Congress, but in the appropriations bills passed by the respective committees and eventually voted on by the House and the Senate. The work on these bills is most prominently under control of both the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate and by the committees that have jurisdiction over the relevant agencies and departments. Effectively then, the White House budget plan should be viewed as something of a “wish list” by the Executive Branch and its underlying agencies rather than a real guide as to what the Federal budget for the next Fiscal Year will actually look like.

The other reason that this budget proposal in general, and the request for even more wall funding specifically are dead on arrival, of course, is because of the fact that the Democrats control the House of Representatives and thus have a far more significant voice in the appropriations process than they did prior to January. The government shutdown made clear that Democrats in the House are not going to provide funding for the President’s border wall, and it’s unlikely that this is going to change simply because time has passed before the shutdown. If anything, Democrats on Capitol Hill are likely to be more adamant in their opposition to the wall now than they were before. In part, this is due to the fact that they have reached the conclusion that they effectively won the shutdown showdown given the fact that the final resolution did not include any funding for the border wall and the President was forced to take the questionable and politically unpopular route of declaring a “national emergency” to get funding for his wall. Additionally, though, it seems quite obvious that the Democratic base is going to demand that the party remain united in opposition to the wall, making a compromise on this issue even less likely than it already might have been.

What all this means, of course, is that there is a better than even chance that we could end up facing another government shutdown at the end of September when the Fiscal Year ends. If the President remains as insistent about this additional funding for the wall as he was regarding funding in the budget proposal being considered last December, then he could threaten to veto any budget that does not include funding for the wall, an outcome that would lead to another shutdown. There’s a lot that could happen between now and then that could lead avert another shutdown, but as things stand now it looks like we better brace ourselves for the events of December 22nd to January 25th happening all over again.



FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What is the definition of insanity again? Oh yeah, whatever trump does.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    WAPO has an article today about the “massive” campaign organization Trump already has up. The wall is just part of the re-election campaign. He doesn’t need to get it, he just needs to be seen by the base as fighting for it.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    Wish in one hand, crap in the other. . . The odds of the House including any of Trump’s sad little ego wall is zero. Although, if it were me as Speaker, I’d make sure I budgeted some dramatically insulting amount. Say, ten bucks. You know, just to add that extra little twist of the knife.