11.21.17

Leahy Slams Border Wall Funding As “Bumper Sticker Budgeting”

Slamming the proposal as “bumper sticker budgeting,” Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday focused on a provision in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would provide $1.6 billion from American taxpayers for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico. 

Leahy said:  “This is bumper sticker budgeting to save face for one of President Trump’s failed campaign promises.  Instead of wasting billions of taxpayer dollars to fund this costly and ineffective proxy for real action on immigration reform, we should be directing our resources toward finding cures for cancer, building schools for our children, feeding the hungry, rebuilding our infrastructure and real security.  We should be investing in what brings us together, not building walls that drive us apart.”

Placed in strategic locations identified by the Department of Homeland Security as being in need of additional security to prevent illegal border crossings or other illicit activities, the United States already has 654 miles of pedestrian fencing or vehicle barriers along its southern border.  The additional 74 miles of President Trump’s border wall proposed in the appropriations bill is estimated to impact 900 landowners and cost as much as $22 million per mile.  With legal disputes still ongoing from border wall construction a decade ago in Texas, the legal costs of new construction are expected to be astronomical and drawn out over years.

With illegal border crossings on the decline and apprehensions along the southern border reaching historic lows, Leahy argued that American tax dollars should be spent elsewhere and invested in the American people.  If the bill had gone through markup in the full Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy would have offered an amendment that would have blocked funding for the wall unless it was paid for by Mexico, as President Trump promised.

Leahy said:  “President Trump ran on a clear campaign promise – he was going to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and Mexico would pay for it.  He could not have been clearer.  I have also been clear about how I feel about this misguided campaign promise.  Building a wall along our southern border is a waste of taxpayer dollars and an insult to our neighbor to the South.  From every perspective, this costly wall is an unwelcome turkey.”     

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