- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 10, 2019

President Trump’s 2020 budget request out Monday is set to include at least $8.6 billion in new money for border wall construction, as the White House and congressional Democrats gear up for another battle over the issue that helped precipitate the recent five-week government shutdown.

About $5 billion would come from the Department of Homeland Security and $3.6 billion would come from military construction funds, according to a senior administration official.

Larry Kudlow, a top economic adviser to Mr. Trump, said Sunday that the wall and border security issue are “of paramount importance.”

“We have a crisis down there. I think the president has made that case very effectively,” Mr. Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Democrats’ top congressional leaders, though, say it’s a no-go.

Mr. Trump was “forced to admit defeat” and reopen the government after Congress didn’t give him the wall money he was seeking recently, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

“The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson,” Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer said in a joint statement.

White House budget requests are frequently ignored by Congress.

But the push for more wall funding — which is well above the $5.7 billion Mr. Trump had been seeking during the shutdown standoff — could be an indicator that the White House wants to keep the issue front and center as the 2020 presidential campaign kicks into high gear.

Mr. Trump’s budget proposal is also expected to include a 5 percent cut to domestic discretionary spending at the same time it gives a big boost to the military, to $750 billion next year.

The president recently declared a national emergency on the southern border — a move the White House says will unlock about $3.6 billion in military construction money to use for wall building.

All told, the administration recently outlined roughly $8.1 billion in other immediate funding for the wall, which includes nearly $1.4 billion in 2019 spending legislation, as well as $600 million from an asset forfeiture fund and $2.5 billion from Defense Department counter-drug funds.

But the emergency declaration is likely to be tied up in the courts.

The Democrat-led House has also voted to pass a resolution of disapproval to try to vacate it, and it appears likely that enough Republicans will break with the president to pass the resolution in the GOP-controlled Senate soon as well. Still, Republican leaders have said there won’t be two-thirds majority support in both chambers that would be necessary to override the already promised presidential veto.

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