Trump floats idea of using military budget to pay for border wall
US president Donald Trump threw Washington into a tizzy on Friday when he threatened to veto the omnibus spending bill, in part because it didn’t include the $25 billion he’d tried to secure for the Mexico wall in a last-minute bargaining spree.world Updated: Mar 28, 2018 23:45 IST
US President Donald Trump has floated the idea of using the budget set aside for the military to fund his border wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico.
Frustrated in his attempts to find funding for the wall — a key campaign promise — Trump has suggested the military should pay for it as it was a part of “national security”. He first hinted this over the weekend, tweeting: “Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich. Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!”
In the days since, Trump is reported to have discussed the same with defence secretary James Mattis and House speaker Paul Ryan.
When asked about Trump’s suggestion, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “I can’t get into the specifics of that at this point, but I can tell you that the continuation of building the wall is ongoing and we’re going to continue moving forward in that process.”
Last week, Trump threatened to veto a $1.3 trillion spending bill on deadline day because it did not earmark the $25 billion he said he needed for the wall. What he got instead was $1.6 billion, which could only be used to repair existing sections.
In negotiations preceding the final bill, he had sought to cut a deal with Democrats, offering a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children in exchange for funding for the wall. It didn’t work.
Experts and observers have said his plan to get the military to pay for it may not succeed either.