President Trump and congressional leaders have agreed to a border wall funding showdown after the upcoming November midterms and canny negotiating means it is increasingly likely Trump will receive $5 billion to build the wall, more than twice what the White House initially sought.
While appropriations bills are moving at the fastest pace in over 20 years, with many expected to be approved by Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, Homeland Security funding for the wall is likely to be delayed, said officials.
Plans are already underway to approve temporary, “stopgap,” funding that will cover Homeland until its new spending is approved after the wall funding fight.
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However, in a good sign for the White House, the Senate has already locked in the $1.6 billion Trump sought this year in wall construction funding in a bipartisan vote and it will be included in the stopgap bill.
Washington Examiner reports: The House is likely to approve $5 billion for the wall, matching Trump’s top level wish and setting up negotiations with the Senate.
Threats of a shutdown over not getting full funding for the wall by Oct. 1, however, threaten to disrupt the plan agreed to at a recent White House meeting between Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to a key official.
Should Trump shift and shut the government down, Democrats would likely make demands for their support and that would include funding for their pet projects.
“A shutdown scenario becomes a lot more expensive,” said a congressional negotiator.
To convince the president against a shutdown, officials are pointing to the pledge to push for more border wall funding after the election.
They are also warning that a shutdown would cloud the success Trump has had this year in pushing for on-time passage of spending bills and eliminate media coverage of his biggest summer victory, the likely confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which opens its fall session on Oct. 1.
Post-election negotiations could go fast because knowledgeable sources said that McConnell would approve $5 billion, as would other GOP leaders.
Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who heads the appropriations subcommittee funding the wall, for example, told the West Virginia Metro News that she is working to get as much as $5 billion.
“In talking to the Border Patrol, they seem to feel that is an amount that they could absorb and work toward securing the border that way. We’re trying to find the money, but that’s not easy. We’re in heavy discussion right now,” said the West Virginia Republican.
And House and Senate aides said that if Trump makes a public case for more spending he could get it quickly in the post-election talks.