It hasn’t been out long, but Donald Trump’s $1.1 trillion budget proposal is already getting shredded by people on both sides of the aisle.
In addition to proposing the complete elimination of important federal programs and diverting a huge amount of money to the Pentagon, the prioritization of Trump’s border wall is also a cause for concern.
The budget requests $1.5 billion to be dedicated to the border wall, plus $2.6 billion for fiscal year 2018 and $1.2 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations.
At a press briefing on Wednesday CNN reported that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget explained the plans for the border wall, which was originally estimated to cost between $12 billion and $21 billion. Mulvaney told reporters that the reason the Trump administration is only asking for a small portion of the money for the wall is because they are still working out the details.
‘The next question is going to be: How many miles of wall does that build, right? We don’t know the answer to that question because we haven’t settled on construction types, we haven’t settled on where we’re going to start.’
Mulvaney also added that he believes the funding would allow for the administration to test out “a couple of pilot cases.”
‘I think the funding provides for a couple of pilot cases … different kinds of barriers in different kinds of places. We try and find the most cost-efficient, the safest and also the most effective border protections.’
Despite Mulvaney’s explanations, the Trump administration appears to be scrambling a bit to come up with the funds for the proposed wall, which won the President millions of supporters throughout his campaign. Originally, Trump claimed that Mexico would pay for the giant barrier. However, it doesn’t seem like that plan will ever come to fruition; when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked recently if Mexico would indeed be funding the wall, he replied, “Uh, no.”
Although Trump and his team are asking for only a small portion of the total cost of the wall initially, it will be difficult for them to obtain that amount with the current resistance the request is facing from members of the Senate.
Senate Democrats have actually threatened a government shutdown over the wall. In a letter addressed to McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the lack of thought Trump has put into actually constructing the wall and said that the wall could end up being a “poison pill.” Schumer added:
‘We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration.’
It is not just Senate Democrats who are opposed, though. Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) have both expressed concerns about the wall.
Gardner has said about the wall and its astronomical estimated cost:
‘Billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed. We shouldn’t just build a wall and add billions of dollars because that’s what somebody said should be done.’
Lankford also said in an interview with POLITCO, “We can’t pay for [the wall] out of thin air.”
At this point, it seems that Trump will absolutely have to take his budget proposal back to the drawing board. With Democrats threatening to shutdown the government and John McCain (R-Arizona) saying it won’t pass the Senate because not enough money is devoted to defense spending, means the budget, much like the GOP’s healthcare bill, appears to be “dead on arrival.”
Featured image via Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images.