US Congress allocates no money for Trump's border wall
Iran Press TV
Tue May 2, 2017 1:23AM
The US Congress has ignored President Donald Trump's demand to fund his controversial campaign pledge of building a wall along the US-Mexico border in the first 100 days of the administration
The leaders in the Republican-controlled Congress struck a more than one-trillion-dollar budget deal on Monday to avert a government shutdown until September, but fell short of allocating cash for Trump's proposed border wall.
The agreement reached after weeks of tense negotiations, however, would allocate an additional 1.5 billion dollars for border security, which one congressional aide described as "the most robust border security increase in roughly a decade."
The lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate are expected to approve the deal in the coming days and send it to the White House for the final signature.
Democrats hailed the agreement and described the measure as a "good agreement" for the American people.
"This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table," Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
"The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren't used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure," he added.
The Democratic Senate minority leader had already signaled that budget for Trump's wall would not gain enough support, saying, "I don't think it can pass. ... There's a lot of negativity on the wall on both the Democratic and Republican sides,"
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, the businessman-turned-politician had refused to say whether he would sign the spending bill if it did not include funding for the proposed border wall.
"The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members," Trump noted on Twitter."Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall."
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed that Mexico would pay for the wall designed to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States. The Mexican government has strongly rejected the claim.
As the first step to deliver on one of his most divisive campaign pledges, the new US president signed a directive to begin the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico just less than a week after assuming office in Washington.
The wall could end up costing as much as $21.6 billion, far more than the administration's estimate of $12 billion, according to reports.
Trump 'not there yet' on Obamacare repeal
Meanwhile, the White House said on Monday that the Congress was not ready to pass a Republican-led health care legislation to repeal and replace the health care law approved under former President Barack Obama.
"We're getting closer and closer every day, but we're not there yet," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said when asked if there are enough votes in the House to put a bill on the floor.
Declining to set a timeline of when the House would vote on the bill, Spicer said the decision of when to move the bill to the floor would be made by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
"I would never want to get in front of the Speaker," Spicer said. "We have a good whip count. Ultimately, the Speaker and House leadership determine when to call a vote."
"We feel confident in the direction it's going, seeing more and more members come on board. We feel very good."
Many members of Congress, including moderate Republicans, are worried that dismantling the existing healthcare law without a viable replacement would leave millions of Americans without health coverage.
Experts agree that the bill fails to reach the objectives laid forth by Trump, which includes affordable coverage for everyone; lower deductibles and health care costs and better care.
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