Senate Republicans Plan to Divert Education, Health Funds to Fund Wall

Jul 2016
I thought Mexico was paying for the wall?

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

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.

[For spending bills, now comes the hard part]

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.

[What the two-year budget deal means for federal spending]

Trump’s push for funding to extend barriers on the southern border, combined with many Democrats’ opposition to it, is likely to produce a clash in the fall. Congress earlier approved $1.3 billion in wall funding for fiscal 2019. Trump asked for an additional $8.6 billion in his fiscal 2020 budget for border barriers — $5 billion in Department of Homeland Security construction accounts, and $3.6 billion for the Pentagon to assist with the project.

Trump earlier this year declared a border emergency and tapped existing statutes to shift $6.7 billion mainly from Pentagon budgets to fund wall construction. The Supreme Court last month cleared the way for the administration to divert $2.5 billion out of defense programs for the wall, blocking a challenge from environmental and other groups.