09.12.19

Senate Republicans Reject Investing In American Communities, And Instead Vote To Fund Trump’s Ineffective Vanity Wall

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Sept. 12, 2019) – Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans Thursday rejected a proposal by Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to invest in American communities, instead directing billions of taxpayer dollars to President Trump’s ineffective border wall. The Leahy proposal would redirect $5 billion from the Republicans’ allocations for the Appropriations Committee’s 12 subcommittees, commonly referred to as 302(b)s, from President Trump’s ineffective wall to investments in infrastructure, health care, preventing gun violence, real national security, and child care among other investments in American families.

Leahy said: “In this Committee, we fund the priorities of the American people. Funding an ineffective, failed campaign promise, which the President promised Mexico would pay for, is not a priority of the American people and should not be the priority of this Committee.”

Leahy’s full statement is available HERE.

Even with the bipartisan budget agreement reached in July, the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process faces new fiscal constraints outside of the Committee’s control. Roughly $17 billion of the $27 billion increase in non-defense spending reached under the bipartisan budget agreement must be appropriated to cover must-pay-for increases. Taking $5 billion for President Trump’s ineffective wall would leave only $6 billion in non-defense funding increases to spread out over the 11 bills, or a 1 percent increase. These must-pay-for increases include:

  • $8.9 billion for the VA MISSION Act, which was shifted to discretionary spending;
  • $3.7 billion for the Decennial Census, which is required by the Constitution to be conducted in 2020; and
  • $4.5 billion to sustain existing assisted housing for 5 million low-income households and to cover reduced housing receipts.

Leahy notes that the Republican allocation, which robs taxpayer dollars primarily from programs under the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills, only further exacerbates these fiscal constraints resulting in inadequate, unbalanced funding of the priorities of the American people.

The cost of shortchanging the American people? $5 billion for an ineffective border wall President Trump promised the American people that Mexico would pay for. A border wall most experts agree would do nothing to address the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. The fact remains, the influx of migrants driving the humanitarian crisis at our southern border is driven by migrant families fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking asylum. These families are escorted through that “big, beautiful wall” by border patrol.

Leahy’s alternative allocation is available HERE.

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