Sen. Charles E. Schumer penned a letter Wednesday officially asking President Trump to cancel his $5 billion request for border wall money in the new budget, and to use the cash on combatting domestic terrorism and racist violence.
Joined by Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the spending committee, Mr. Schumer said the wall is unproven as a solution to the border crisis.
They said programs with a clearer link to public safety should be given higher priority that the president’s desire to fulfill his border wall campaign pledge.
“Specifically, we ask you to consider supporting counter-violent extremism programs, domestic terrorism investigations at the FBI, gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and support services in schools and communities, such as school counselors,” the senators wrote.
Mr. Trump has requested $5 billion for border wall construction next year, which is in addition to the more than $8 billion he has claimed this year. That $8 billion is comprised of $1.375 billion approved by Congress, and nearly $7 billion more that the president is shifting from Pentagon and Treasury Department funds.
Those moves to shift money are being challenged in court, and the senators pointed out that Mr. Trump only won $1.375 billion in border wall money from Congress for 2019.
“You did not have the support in Congress for an expensive and ineffective border wall then and you do not have it now,” the lawmakers said.
Mr. Trump has signaled an interest in passing legislation to expand the number of gun transactions subject to background checks, and red-flag laws to temporarily confiscate firearms from those reported to be threats.
But he is unlikely to cancel spending on his border wall. Indeed, last year he was so committed to the project that he orchestrated a government shutdown over it.