WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Build the Wall,” chanted Trump 100 Days rally-goers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania this weekend, but on Monday questions persisted about the lack of border wall funding in Congress’s new spending bill, leaving it unclear when exactly a wall along the U.S. southern border will be built.
At Monday’s White House Press Briefing, Secretary Sean Spicer was asked what the response is to conservatives that do not think they got a lot out of the new spending bill, including no funding for a wall along the southern border, no defunding of sanctuary cities but funding of Planned Parenthood.
Spicer said the President got a lot out of the bill, pivoting to talk about increased funding for the military to the tune of $21 billion and $1.52 billion for border security.
On Monday morning, Rep. Jim Jordan declared that many conservatives are likely to oppose the new spending bill, noting in the CNN interview, “…we specifically held the vote for — we did a short-term spending bill for this time so that when Republicans controlled the government, we could actually do the things we campaigned on. This bill doesn’t seem to do that.”
Building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was a foundational element of then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. “Build the Wall” was an ever-present chant of rallygoers and supporters, and even this past Saturday at President Trump’s 100 Days rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, participants were still chanting “build the wall.” At this most recent rally, President Trump attempted to reassure supporters that he will build the wall.
Spicer said in the Monday press conference, “And remember, I think people have to keep in context, we’re talking about 2017 funding, right? So this is something that most presidents would walk into office and that would have been done. Because the last congress didn’t do this under President Obama, we have an opportunity to get some of the President’s priorities infused for the last five months of 2017. That’s a big step forward…”
Spicer indicated that funding to build the wall is being pushed off until at least the 2018 budget, but was unclear as to whether that would in fact occur. “When the fiscal year starts the end of September, we will have an opportunity to really infuse the President’s priorities, but I think there’s a lot there,” he said.
Spicer went on to list other priorities aside from funding the wall that the Administration is looking to: D.C. school choice, no Obamacare bailout, coal miners being “taken care of.”
Pressed on what the President had to give up to get certain issues funded, Spicer replied that the 2017 budget should have been done already. “No, I mean I think on the Planned Parenthood thing in particular … but again remember this is 2017 funding. This is something that he wouldn’t even have normally had a shot at because it should have been done. So infusing his priorities in the 2017 budget cycle is actually something that he’s been able to have a say in, which is a big deal for the remaining five months.”
Pressed again on the timeline for building the wall and the urgency of the matter, Spicer \ did not give a timeline. “Make no mistake the wall’s going to be built. The President has made it very clear,” he replied instead.
We have five months left in this fiscal year. We’re getting $1.52 billion for border security, there’s a lot that can be done with that. We’ve got a lot of things that happen before the wall is built in terms of planning, technology, gates. There’s a lot of things that can do to prepare for that wall being constructed … this was a down payment for 2017, and as we get ready for fiscal year 2018, that’s start in the beginning of October, this will be a major priority.
On any timeline for completion of the wall, Spicer would only say that the President wants it completed “as soon as possible.”
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