President Trump is attempting to secure funding for the wall that was among his signature campaign promises, but the funding request is much lower than anticipated.
Dallas News reports that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney said in March that $4.1 billion was needed in the upcoming budget to pay for construction of the wall. The number submitted in Trump's recent budget proposal is ... $1.6 billion.
When Trump signed a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government through September, there was $1.5 billion included to fund updates for border security but nothing to pay for construction of the wall. Mulvaney at the time brushed it off and declared that $2.6 billion would be included in the next budget proposal.
The latest budget proposal even falls short of that number. When pressed about it on Tuesday, Mulvaney brushed it aside by touting the $2.6 billion allocated in the budget for border security in general. But not all of it is headed toward constructing the wall.
OMB Communications Director John Czwartacki, on the other hand, conceded on Monday evening that "Trump did not get all of the money that he wanted for the wall if you add up the 2017 and 2018 requests."
"$4.1 billion is not available to us," Czwartacki said. "Sometimes you win and sometimes you don't win as much."
Czwartacki did reiterate that Trump was committed to following through on one of his signature campaign promises in building the wall.
It's one thing to say it, but it's quite another to actually pull it off. The issue with the Trump administration curtailing their funding request from the wall by $2.5 billion is that the president's proposed budget is a starting point in negotiations.
The fact that the wall funding request has already shrunk dramatically before Trump's budget has been submitted to Congress doesn't inspire confidence that the final budget to come out of Congress and onto the president's desk will include much in the way of wall funding, if any. If Trump is truly committed to fighting for his wall, then he may have to prepare to use his veto pen and risk a government shutdown, even if it's against the wishes of John Boehner and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
There's certainly a lot to like in Trump's budget, but it's critical that he follows through on the wall. The current proposal doesn't necessarily indicate that he will.