The Senate’s appropriations committee will include $1.6 billion for the border wall in its 2018 spending plan, according to the committee chairman, Arkansas Republican Sen. John Boozman.
“I think at the end of the day, the president is going in insist that the border funding be there,” Boozman told reporters. Because of strong Democratic opposition to the border wall, the requested spending “will be part of the negotiations,” he said Tuesday.
The House has also approved $1.6 billion in 2018 spending for the border wall, so it will only be stopped if the Democratic Senators unite against the measure during the December budget fight.
President Donald Trump is demanding that Democrats agree to fund the border wall in exchange for legalization of the 690,000 beneficiaries of former President Barack Obama’s now-eclipsed DACA amnesty.
Agency officials are already overseeing the construction of eight border-wall prototypes in California.
Democrats say the wall is a symbolic rejection of the nation’s policy of mass-immigration, and also claim there are cheaper ways to stop the northward flow of migrants and drugs.
Technology can provide an alternative says Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, the Democrats’ ranking chairman of the Boozman’s homeland defense subcommittee.
In September, the Montana Senator toured a local company which produces heat-detecting equipment, saying “If we can keep the border safe and secure by using this kind of technology, it just has some real pluses.”
Legislators asked officials at the Department of Homeland Security to consider the value of the alternative surveillance technology when drawing up strategic plans for the wall, Tester told the local media.
Tester is facing a tough election battle in 2018.