Trump is seizing $6.7 billion for his ’emergency’ wall—but now he’s demanding the amount be doubled
After an extended post-midterm-elections tantrum shut down parts of government for over a month, Donald Trump eventually squeezed about $1.4 billion out of Congress to construct new border fencing between the United States and Mexico. An unsatisfied Trump then declared that asylum-seeking families were now a “national emergency”, announcing he’d be yanking over $6.7 billion from other federal programs using “emergency” powers to bypass Congress; the Senate will be voting in upcoming days on whether or not to rescind that emergency declaration, though their decision can itself be vetoed by the ever-agitated Dear Leader.
So now Trump has gotten not just the $5 billion he originally demanded for his obsessed-upon border wall, but over $8 billion, much of it taken from military pensions, military housing construction and repairs, and drug interdiction efforts. $8 billion is a lot of federal cash, especially for a vanity project that experts resoundingly condemn as unnecessary.
So, is Trump satisfied yet? Nope. Now he’s demanding that amount be doubled. Trump’s newest budget request will be seeking another $8.6 billion in wall funding.
That would put the funds demanded by Trump at about $17 billion, for a “wall” he had previously demanded $5 billion for, after campaign trail promises that the wall would cost American taxpayers “zero” because actually Mexico would be paying for the whole thing. And the odds that Congress is going to sign off on $17 billion in taxpayer funds are … low.
That’s not the only bit of insanity Team Trump is stuffing in their annual budget request. The Washington Post also reports the Trump budget proposes extraordinary cuts to social services programs, including $1.1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, over $500 billion from food, housing, and student loan programs, and over $200 billion from federal retirements programs and the U.S. Postal Service. The departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, the EPA and Transportation would all face double-digit percentage cuts. This focus on severe cuts focused primarily on the poor and middle class was predicted from the moment Republicans forced through budget-busting tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy; it was always the plan to pay for those tax cuts by cutting food and medical aid to the poor. It is one of the sole remaining tenets of “conservatism.”
It is not bloody likely that a new Democratic House will go along with Team Trump’s plans for severe austerity towards anyone who is not personally a member of Mar-a-Lago, but Trump’s insistence on over-doubling down on the amount of taxpayer cash he’s demanding for his “wall” seems to be a tic that the would-be autocrat will be continuing … indefinitely. He got $1 billion, then took another $6.7; before even finalizing which federal programs would be stolen from to fund the $6.7 billion, he’s back to demand an additional $8 billion. By August, will he be demanding another twenty? Another forty?
By the time the 2020 elections roll around, will he be insisting we stack Medicaid beneficiaries on the border like cordwood?