Donald Trump’s proposed budget hasn’t won him any new fans, and recent reports suggest that he’s looking to make several additional cuts. In effect, Trump wishes to slash $18 billion in social program funding to help fund his controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall. These proposed immediate budget cuts could siphon money from community development, infrastructure, and medical innovation, which would be devastating cuts for citizens, as cancer research money could be affected. But as the StarTribune notes, these cuts aren’t official, and they may be a bargaining chip to get the wall moving:
Unlike the budget document itself, the roster of cuts does not represent official administration proposals. Instead, they were sent to Capitol Hill as a set of “options” for GOP staff aides and lawmakers crafting a catchall spending bill for the ongoing budget year, which ends Sept. 30. That suggests the White House isn’t determined to press the cuts.
The price tag for a completed wall has fluctuated, but CNN reported that a 62 mile stretch of it could cost nearly $1 billion, and Mexico has made no secret of its refusal to pay for it. However, the White requested $999 million in a budget supplement for defense and border security that would include new levee wall barriers, border walls, and replacement fencing across 48 miles. But buried in the budget request is an assurance that Trump’s immigration order and enforcement are doing well:
The documents also claim that Trump’s executive orders on immigration enforcement are already having an effect, saying arrests are up 50%, charges are up 40% and requests to detain arrested individuals who are deportable are up 80%. When asked, ICE did not have information on what the administration is using as a baseline.
The stats may be evidence to justify the $999 million price tag, but as CNN notes, the source of the information is unknown. Statistics have never been a sticking point for the Trump administration, but if he wants to get his wall built, he may need to provide some concrete facts.
Update: Sen. Roy Blunt, senior member of the Appropriations Committee, said that Trump’s funding request may not be granted as soon as he’d prefer. Blunt announced on Tuesday that the request will likely be placed on hold and discussed again later this year.