Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Will Trump’s Wall Hit a Wall?

Photo: David Bacon
The Trump administration’s proposed budget includes $999 million for 62 miles of the president’s promised border wall. But Republicans legislators, facing opposition from Democrats, may leave the wall request out of the budget Congress passes next month, creating another big loss for the real estate magnate right after his team’s failure to push Trumpcare through the House of Representatives.

There’s another embarrassment for Trump’s promised wall: the 62 miles of fencing and wall in the budget request—48 miles of new construction and 14 miles of work on existing barriers—would come with a price tag of $16 million per mile. At that rate, a wall for the whole 2,000-mile border, including upgrades to the existing 651 miles of fencing and other barriers, would cost far more than the $12 billion Trump has claimed at various times, and more even than the $21 billion a government report projected earlier this year. And none of this counts the maintenance costs for the giant structure, which could pass $70 billion over the next quarter century.

So where does the administration propose finding the funds for the Great Wall of Trump? From cutbacks in areas like medical research and bridge construction. No wonder the pledge to “build the wall”—a big crowd-pleaser during Trump’s campaign last year—isn’t so popular anymore. A CNN/ORC poll found that just 39 percent of 1,025 adults surveyed earlier this month approved the wall; 61 percent were opposed.—TPOI editor

Congress may stiff Trump on wall funding
“The Trump administration can't have another disaster on its hands. I think right now they have to show some level of competence and that they can govern.”

By Burgess Everett and Rachael Bade, Politico
March 28, 2017
Congressional Republicans might deliver some more bad news for President Donald Trump, fresh off their embarrassing failure to scrap Obamacare: No new money is coming to build his wall.

Trump hoped to jump-start construction of a massive wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with money in a must-pass government funding bill. But Democratic leaders are vowing to block any legislation that includes a single penny for the wall.

With the GOP consumed by its own divisions, the White House and Hill Republicans will have to rely on Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown next month in what would be another disaster for Trump’s fledgling presidency.[…]

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First on CNN: Border wall ask: $1 billion for 62 miles

By Tal Kopan, Curt Devine, Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, CNN
March 28, 2017
Washington (CNN)The Trump administration wants the first $1 billion of border wall funding to cover 62 miles -- including replacing some existing fencing along the southern border.

The $999 million requested by the White House in its budget supplement for just defense and border security spending would cover just 48 miles of new wall, according to justification documents from the Department of Homeland Security obtained by CNN.

The documents describe exactly where the administration hopes to put its first installment of the border wall, as it described its modest 2017 funding ask.

The money will fund 14 miles of new border wall in San Diego, 28 miles of new levee wall barriers and six miles of new border wall in the Rio Grande Valley region and 14 miles of replacement fencing in San Diego. The fencing would likely include concrete elements, a source familiar with the plans told CNN.[...]

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Here’s what the Trump White House wants to cut to fund his border wall, military spending spree
The suggested cuts are not official White House proposals, but they suggest the thrust of administration thinking

By Matthew Rozsa, Salon
March 28, 2017
On the same day that Department of Homeland Security justification documents were reported that indicate President Donald Trump wants nearly $1 billion to pay for his proposed border wall, the White House has sent a list of $18 billion worth of suggested spending cuts to Capitol Hill.

The cuts are wide-ranging but include programs like medical research, community development grants, and building new roads and bridges, according to a report by The New York Times. Because the list of suggested cuts are not being presented as official administration proposals but rather as “options” for congressional Republicans, they tell us more about where Trump would like to cut spending in order to pay for his border wall and Pentagon spending increases — as well as the fact that the administration is flexible in its approach to what it cuts.[…]

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CNN/ORC poll: Most back boost in infrastructure spending, oppose growing military budget

By Jennifer Agiesta, CNN Polling Director
March 8, 2017
Washington (CNN)—President Donald Trump last week floated the first kernels of his budget proposal for the coming year, and a new CNN/ORC poll finds the public sides with the President on tax cuts for the middle class and increased spending on infrastructure.

They disapprove, however, of his plans to increase military spending and fund the construction of a border wall with Mexico.

The poll results come about a week after Trump outlined some of his budget proposals in an address to a joint session of Congress. A budget request for 2018 is expected to reach Congress on March 16.[…]

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