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President Donald Trump touted construction of the border wall on Tuesday, even though the draft budget for the Department of Homeland Security adds only enough funds to contract for just 55 miles of new wall in 2019.
The draft deal offers far less than the $5.7 billion and 234 miles requested by Trump.
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Trump spoke before a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and hinted he might redirect more funds for wall construction:
I can’t say I’m thrilled. But the wall is getting built, regardless. It doesn’t matter. Because we’re doing other things beyond what we’re talking about here. So we’ll see what happens.
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In 2017 and 2018, Congress provided funds to build a total of 115 miles of new wall.
Trump told the reporters at the White House:
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In fact, I noticed yesterday, when I got to [the February 11 rally in] El Paso, they had signs, “Finish the Wall,” instead of “Build the Wall.” Because we’re doing a lot of wall right now. Just started a big portion of the wall in the Rio Grande Valley, which is now the biggest area for people coming in. We’ve sealed up a lot of the areas where people come in.
The budget deal reportedly includes unusual language allowing officials to transfer $750 million from some projects to other projects. Trump hinted that officials plan to shift money from lower priority programs to wall construction. He said:
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And we’re doing things that are fantastic and taking from far less — really, from far less important areas. And the bottom line is we’re building a lot of wall. Right now, we’re building a lot of wall.
The bottom line is — on the wall — we’re building the wall. And we’re using other methods, other than this and in addition to this. We have a lot of things going. We have a lot...
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