Trump vows to bypass Congress and use US military to build border wall
Comments come hours before meeting with top Democrat lawmakers, Pelosi and Schumer
US president Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed to go around Congress and utilize the US military to build a wall along the US-Mexico border even if he does not get funding, just hours before he was to meet with the top two Democratic lawmakers.
In a series of early-morning tweets, Mr Trump praised his administration’s moves to block migrants at the US border with Mexico and said efforts to stop a caravan of migrants seeking to reach the United States were a success, and vowed that “the Wall will get built”.
The president has made funding for the border wall, a campaign promise, a central issue as Congress seeks to finalise spending before some federal government funding expires on December 21st. Mr Trump wants $5 billion (€4.4 billion) for the structure.
“If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall,” Trump said on Twitter ahead of the 11.30am EST (16.30 GMT) meeting.
US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi – who has called building a wall “immoral” – are expected to offer just $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion) for border security when they meet with Mr Trump, a senior Democratic aide said.
Despite the large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country, people have not been able to get through our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military. They are now staying in Mexico or going back to their original countries.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
.....Ice, Border Patrol and our Military have done a FANTASTIC job of securing our Southern Border. A Great Wall would be, however, a far easier & less expensive solution. We have already built large new sections & fully renovated others, making them like new. The Democrats,.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
....however, for strictly political reasons and because they have been pulled so far left, do NOT want Border Security. They want Open Borders for anyone to come in. This brings large scale crime and disease. Our Southern Border is now Secure and will remain that way.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
.....I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
....People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2018
This is less than the $1.6 billion (€1.4 billion) a bipartisan Senate committee has approved, but it would extend current funding levels at the Department of Homeland Security until September 30th.
Democrats say that what Mr Trump wants cannot pass Congress, and warn that if Mr Trump insists on his way, part of the government could be forced into a shutdown.
Congress has not yet approved spending bills for about a quarter of the government.
Even though Congress is still controlled by Republicans until year’s end, Democrats are needed to get the supermajority required to clear Senate procedural hurdles on spending legislation.
Asked what her message to Mr Trump would be, Ms Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday: “Let’s meet the needs of the American people . . . that’s our responsibility.” Asked if a compromise was possible, she said, “We’ll see.”
Mr Trump deployed the US military to the border area before November 6th congressional elections, calling the caravan an “invasion.” Critics decried the action as politically motivated.
For Mr Trump and his Republicans, it may be their last chance to get wall funding before Democrats take over the majority in the new House of Representatives in January.
But Democrats on the verge of House power may be disinclined to compromise, and Ms Pelosi may be wary of looking weak as she is seeking to be elected House speaker next year. – Reuters