President Donald Trump will seek US$8.6 billion in his new budget to build the US-Mexico border wall, an administration said Sunday (local time), setting up another showdown with Congress, which has resisted giving him more money for his signature campaign promise.
The request would more than double the US$8.1 billion already available to the president after he declared a national emergency at the border in order to circumvent Congress after lawmakers refused his funding demands.
That standoff led to a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in US history.
The official confirmed that the request was part of Trump’s spending blueprint for the 2020 budget year. The official was not authorised to publicly discuss budget details before the release of the plan and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Budget proposals are merely a starting point in negotiations, but Democrats immediately rejected the border request.
“Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
They said the money “would be better spent on rebuilding America”.
The budget arrives as Trump’s Republican allies in the Senate, uneasy over the emergency declaration, are expected this coming week to debate terminating it.
Some view it as an overreach of executive power. Congress appears to have enough votes to reject Trump’s declaration, but not to overturn his pledged veto of their action.