US president Donald Trump will seek $8.6 billion more for his border wall in budget proposals 2020 to be announced on Monday, setting up another round of fight with the Congress that caused the longest ever shutdown of the federal government recently.
The proposals were described in some reports as “dead on arrival” as Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, will most certainly reject it, given their opposition to the wall and other cuts that the Trump administration is expected to seek in welfare programmes.
The budget is also expected to propose an increase of $35 billion in defence spending, taking it up to $750 billion.
Senior Trump aide Larry Kudlow confirmed the president’s wall funding proposal on a television show on Sunday morning, acknowledging it will trigger a new fight.
President Trump had sought $5.6 billion in his 2019 budget, but had to settle for $1.3 billion. He has sought to raise an additional $6.5 billion by shifting funds from other approved appropriations by declaring a national emergency, which has been challenged in courts and is set to be rejected by the Congress.
He will veto the congressional rejection and save his emergency declaration, but it is not clear yet if he can begin moving funds pending the settlement of legal challenges.
Trump’s campaign promise of a wall along the border with Mexico has turned into a fight that is likely to continue given the pressure he is under from his supporters, some of whom have turned against him for failing to begin work on it and giving in to Democrats in the last shutdown.
One of them is Ann Coulter, an influential conservative commentator, who has called the president an “idiot” for surrendering to Democrats. Trump lashed out against her Saturday calling her a “Wacky Nut Job”. Earlier, he had unfollowed her on Twitter to register his anger.
Democrats are in no mood to relent either.
They called the president’ proposed “immoral” and had at one stage said they would not give Trump even $1 for it. The $1.3 billion they approved earlier is strictly to be spent for other measures to boost security at the border and not for the wall.