President Donald Trump will ask Congress to provide only $2 billion for the border wall by late 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The small request for 2021 construction will help avert a budget showdown and government shutdown near the election in November. But it will not slow construction of the border wall because it is now being built with almost $14 billion in funds transferred from the Department of Defense.
The WSJ reported on February 9:
The smaller proposal, the officials said, reflects the fact that the administration needs fewer resources to build a wall along the U.S. southern border, as it has essentially met its funding goals by shifting money from the military toward construction. The additional requested money, they said, would go toward new sections of wall that haven’t yet been planned.
The money transferred from the Department of Defense can build an estimated 1,000 miles of border fencing:
With those transfers, the administration has amassed the $18 billion it requested. It estimates the money could pay for as much as 885 miles of Mr. Trump’s preferred style of border fencing, two administration officials last month, a significant proportion of which would replace existing barriers. The White House budget document estimates the money would pay for approximately 1,000 miles.
Much of the construction would be slated for 2021 and beyond, presuming Mr. Trump wins a second term in office.
The government procurement process delays the start of construction so that only 104 miles of fencing has been built so far. But officials expect roughly another 400 miles of fencing will be built by early 2021. In his February 4, 2020, State of the Union speech, Trump declared that we already have a “very strongly guarded southern border, where, as we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built,” adding, “We have now completed over 100 miles and have over 500 miles fully completed in a very short period of time. Early next year, we will have substantially more than 500 miles completed.”
Construction of the border wall is behind schedule, in part, because of weak GOP support, strong opposition by Democrats, activists’ lawsuits, and the practical difficulty of building many miles of border wall through deserts:
Trump delivered on his 2015 promise to make Mexico pay for the border wall, says Jorge Ramos, the Mexican-born, TV-anchor advocate for massive illegal migration.
He says that Trump won by pressuring Mexico to become the border wall. https://t.co/CHc9EzTofV
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) February 10, 2020