Will Congress' Budget Deal Fund Trump’s Border Wall? The President May Not Keep His Promise
On Sunday evening, Congressional negotiators reached an agreement that, once passed, will fund the federal government through the end of September. The agreement is largely considered a win for Democrats and, notably, the government budget deal doesn't include border wall funds, as Trump and his supporters may have hoped it would. And this is quite striking considering that divisiveness over border wall funding threatened to shut down the entire government just days prior.
Last Friday constituted the original deadline for Congress to pass a spending bill. However, on Friday, members passed a one-week stop gap spending measure, which gave them extra time to negotiate a bipartisan spending deal. A new spending bill must be passed by Friday, May 5 in order to avert a government shutdown. However, Sunday's announcement of a bipartisan funding deal means that it is very likely that a spending bill will pass this week and a government shutdown will be avoided. While, according to Vox, the deal does allocate $1.5 billion toward border security, none of these of these border security funds can be spent on building a wall.
Congressional Democrats seem to be characterizing Sunday's funding agreement as a victory. The Hill reported that Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont stated that he was "especially glad this agreement does not include a single penny for the construction of a misguided wall along our southern border."
Furthermore, Democrats also expressed their satisfaction with other components of the funding agreement. The Hill indicated that Senator Chuck Schumer of New York lauded the deal's protections for the middle class, particularly around healthcare and medical research. Notably, the bill does not cut funding for Planned Parenthood and also provides Puerto Rico with $295 million in Medicaid funding.
For his part, Trump has not yet commented on the legislation via Twitter or otherwise. However, the administration has praised the agreement's increase in defense and security spending, even if that spending cannot be used for the border wall. John Czwartacki, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, indicated in a statement that the administration believes that the fact that " ... the package makes a major down payment towards the president’s security priorities [is] encouraging."
According to Bloomberg, a vote on the spending agreement could be held as early as Tuesday. While nothing is set in stone until the agreement officially passes Congress and is signed by President Trump, it looks very likely that a government shutdown will be averted and that, at least for now, Trump's border wall will not be constructed.