US: Congress budget deal cuts Trump’s border wall short

Republicans and Democrats agree on plan to keep the US government running until September.

The construction of the border wall to Mexico had to be put off again [File:Reuters]
The construction of the border wall to Mexico had to be put off again [File:Reuters]

US Congress leaders have reached a bipartisan deal on around $1 trillion in federal funding to avert a government shutdown on Friday this week.

The proposed pact, reached by Republican and Democratic late on Sunday, will fund public spending until September. It will be put to a vote in the following days, both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

The deal reportedly increases defence spending by $25bn and $1.5bn for border security. This money is not to be spent on the so-called deportation force and there are no cuts to federal funding for sanctuary cities – municipalities that do not prosecute undocumented immigrants for violating federal immigration laws.

The agreement makes the US “stronger and safer”, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in statement, because “it acts on President Trump’s commitment to rebuild our military for the 21st century and bolster our nation’s border security to protect our homeland”.

Yet, to get the document passed, President Donald Trump had to make concessions to the Democrats. One of the biggest campaign promises – the construction of a border wall to Mexico – had to be put off yet again, because the budget deal does not include any funding for it.

The White House last week had dropped the request over concerns about passage of the broader spending bill – Republicans will need support from Democrats in the Senate to pass the legislation

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Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer went on record saying that an “ineffective” construction project such as the border wall to Mexico would not be funded from taxpayers’ money.

He called the budget agreement a “good deal for the American people” that eliminates the threat of a government shutdown.

The Democrats were also able to force other issues during the negotiations. The city of New York was given $68m to cover the expense of protecting the president and his family during their stay at Trump Tower.

Trump had to forgo funding cuts for medical research and community development programmes.

Republicans were not able to push through cuts to Obamacare subsidies or to the Planned Parenthood Programme.

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Source : News Agencies


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