White House asks Congress for $5.7 billion for ‘steel barrier’
President Donald Trump backs down from insisting on a concrete border wall, while again saying he may declare ‘a national emergency.’
The White House on Sunday officially asked Congress for $5.7 billion to build a “steel barrier,” confirming that President Donald Trump was backing down from his call for a concrete wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The request, made against the backdrop of a partial government shutdown that has entered its third week, comes as Trump is also considering whether to go around Congress and declare a national emergency in order to construct his proposed wall
“A physical barrier — wall — creates an enduring capability that helps field personnel stop, slow down, and/or contain illegal entries,” Russ Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in letters sent on Sunday to the House Appropriations Committee chairwoman, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), and its ranking member, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas).
Just hours earlier, the president had again threatened to declare a national emergency as a means for construction, even while saying that he would first gauge the results of upcoming negotiations to end the shutdown, which was triggered by partisan debate over his signature campaign promise.
“I may decide a national emergency depending on what happens over the next few days,” Trump told reporters as he exited the White House en route to Camp David, according to a pool report.
“We have to build the wall or we have to build the barrier. The barrier or the wall can be of steel instead of concrete if that works better,” the president said.