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Another brick in the wall: Congress approves funding for Trump's Mexico barrier

Another brick in the wall: Congress approves funding for Trump's Mexico barrier

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested Trump got, or would eventually, get as much funding as he requested for the border wall. And he wants a down payment for that wall in this bill.

Mr. Trump earlier this month said he figures the 1,954-mile border needs 700-900 miles of wall. But he had said he would make Mexico pay for it. Mexico said no, and USA taxpayers will have to provide the money.

The $788 billion spending bill that the House approved is anchored by a $659 billion defense funding, which exceeds current-year levels by $60 billion.

The spending bill also includes $78.3 billion for veterans' care and an nearly $1 billion increase for nuclear weapons activities at the Energy Department to modernize the nuclear arsenal, AP reported.

Critics say that existing fencing is more than enough and that the portions of the border without it are too remote for crossings and that tribal law, environmental requirements, and personal property rights have blocked fencing for most of the rest. The $1.6 billion cost will be covered by taxpayers, not Mexico, as Trump promised over and over during the campaign.

The House passed a $713.4 billion defense spending "minibus" Thursday that rolled four separate spending bills together with scores of amendments, including nearly $1.6 billion to begin construction of a border wall.

There's already about 650 miles of fencing and other barricades - roughly 350 miles to block pedestrians and 300 miles to block vehicles - that's been built along the southern border.

"A good fence or wall will make a good neighbor", said Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican. It now heads to the Senate - where Democrats have a significant strength - before it can be signed into law by the USA president. Democrats have lots of leverage because their votes are needed to pass the funding measures.

We know that Mexico will never reimburse us for this wall and that USA taxpayers will be stuck with paying for it for many years to come, long after President Trump is out of office.

Democrats said the big gains for now are illusory since sequestration remains in place. "Instead of giving certainty to our heroes in uniform, this bill would breach the sequester spending limit by more than $70 billion, forcing a mandatory 13 percent cut to all defense accounts".

So they turned to Trump, who instantly fired out a tweet announcing the ban; a last ditch effort to save the House proposal, which was packed with campaign promises and teetering towards defeat.

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