The 2018 budget proposal as presented by the Trump administration today calls for significant cuts to federal spending across the board, and features only a modest request to begin construction on the controversial “Trump border wall” along America’s southern border.
The wall, which became a source of controversy during the campaign, has long been a central theme in Trump’s candidacy and short time as president. Early cost estimates produced by the Department of Homeland Security floated a price tag of around $21.6 billion. The funding proposal on Tuesday called for just $1.6 billion to begin construction.
Trump faces opposition from fiscal conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, who are critical of the high price tag. Democrats oppose the wall strictly along partisan lines.
Opposition to the wall forced the administration to pull complete funding from this year’s budget, but the goal of constructing the wall remains fixed. “”We are absolutely dead serious about the wall,” said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney during a press conference today.
“The spending on the border security is $2.6 billion, of which I think $1.6 billion is actual bricks-and-mortar construction,” Mulvaney said Monday. “The other $1 billion is infrastructure and technology.”
There have been many proposals and prototypes for the wall, which have been submitted by over 200 companies looking to get a contract for construction. Many are legitimate ideas, offering a wide variety of materials and designs to meet the criteria as established by the federal government. Some ideas include wire mesh, lightweight pre-fabricated panels, and even a wall adorned with solar panels designed to offset the cost of the wall through energy production.
Today’s budget release is now subject to be hashed out in Congress through committee, and the $1.6 billion proposed specifically for wall construction will certainly be a source of controversy, on top of the billions in other cuts across the federal government.
Trump’s rallying calls for the wall have previously included the caveat that Mexico will foot the cost of the bill, be it through an actual payment, or through reducing a trade deficit with America’s third largest trading partner, but no definitive details have yet been released. Trump has said Congress will need to fund the wall initially.
Image courtesy of NBC News