When President Donald J. Trump announced to run for the presidency back in 2015, one of his main objectives was to build a wall in the southern border. This topic remains one of the most divisive political topics in United States history. For the political left, it seems to be one of the most inhumane political moves from the GOP for immigrants seeking asylum. President Trump and his administration tried to seek funds from Congress to build his wall and even stating that Mexico will pay for it. In late 2018 and early 2019, the government went to a its longest shutdown in U.S. history due to no bipartisan agreement from Congress to fund the wall. Just recently, on Wednesday, December 18, the Senate finally had a bipartisan agreement that will provide funding for the border wall and other federal programs, with a whopping 1.4 Trillion dollars spending agreement in which consist of two packages.
Just one day before the House of Representatives voted on the packages, leaders released a more than 2,300-page agreement, leaving many representatives baffled to learn all the new details. The new agreement will not just only fund the southern border, but it will fund all federal agencies and programs through next fall. At least a dozen “Must-Pass” bills were split into two packages in order to appease President Trump. The President stated that he would never again sign an “Omnibus” package deal with Congress like he did earlier this year. Attached to the first spending package agreement are numerous unrelated policy revisions, such as raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to the age of 21, permanently repealing taxes related to the Affordable Care Act, and extending other tax breaks.
The second package includes measure for national security, including allocations for both the military and the Department of Homeland Security. It passed with a 280 to 138 margin in the House of Representatives. Passage through Congress marks a huge bipartisan success for Republicans and Democrats after a long and slow pace negotiation. Seventy-five Democrats voted against the measure, with some protesting what they said was an excessive $738 billion cost for military and others objecting to the decision to fund the administration’s immigration policies without adequate oversight. The legislation will maintain the $1.375 Billion for the border barrier construction that Congress agreed earlier this year, with no limitation for President Trump’s ability to transfer funds from other Pentagon accounts to pay for the wall. It does not, however, replace the $3.6 billion in military construction funding that the President had previously allocated to build a border wall. The national security package also includes funds for a 3.1 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees.
Trump has continued to push aggressively to build the wall. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters on Tuesday, December 17, that he is confident the 2020 border wall package will get the agency close to its goal of finishing 450 miles of the new border wall by the end of the fiscal year. Members of the Certified in Healthcare Compliance or CHC, a group whose members represent seven of the nine border districts, said they would oppose the spending bill because of the high number of funded immigration detention beds and the lack of restrictions on moving funds from other agencies toward immigration. They also disagreed with allowing the administration “to continue ramping up confiscation of American private property in order to build President Trump’s border wall.
The spending package also establishes a new position within the Department of Homeland Security designed to oversee immigrant detention. The position serves a number of functions, including addressing complaints and conducting unannounced inspections of detention facilities. Over recent months, immigration facilities have come under increased scrutiny following overcrowding and deaths of immigrants in custody. The creating of the 1position appears intended to address some of those concerns.
Even though many can’t agree on the border wall, there is a celebration on both the Democratic and Republican parties that a bipartisan agreement passed on political issues that either sides would have not agreed. The democrat’s highlight equal pay increase for federal workers, $425 million for election security, and full funding for the upcoming 2020 census. The bill will also include $25 million for gun violence research, which is a first in 20 years Congress has approved any such spending. On the other hand, Republican’s highlight the $1.375 billion for border fence construction and flexibility in the way they can spend those funds. You should note that the funds approved by Congress for the border wall is less than the $8 billion first requested by President Trump. The Republicans also secured $22 billion in defense spending increase previously opposed by Democrats.