The signature promise of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was that he would build a massive wall along the nation’s southern border and that not a penny of it would be charged to the American taxpayer. He repeatedly boasted that he would get Mexico to pay for it.
But now that this lie has been all but abandoned, Senate Republicans reportedly plan to divert billions of dollars from health and education to make up the difference.
Roll Call reported on Thursday that Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has written a Fiscal Year 2020 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill allocation “that is about $5 billion lower than it would have been to provide funding for the wall.” If this proposal gets the 60 votes required for passage in the Senate, it would still need to be negotiated with the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
Shelby’s 2016 campaign website painted him as a champion of “fiscal responsibility” who opposed “wasteful government spending.”
Though the Trump administration has upgraded sections of pre-existing fencing, there has been almost no construction of new wall segments.
As a candidate, Trump’s promise that Mexico would fully fund his border wall became so constant that his supporters chanted it at his rallies. Though he vowed he “would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall,” and that it would be completed within two years, that has not happened. In January 2017, he changed the promise to Mexico would pay but “a little later.” More than two-and-a-half years into his presidency, Mexico has not paid a cent.