Border Wall

Combined with a spending package he signed on Friday to avert a government shutdown, President Trump declared a national emergency on the southern U.S. border in a bid to unlock more money to build his proposed wall. The move will free up about $8 billion for the wall, which is enough for about 55 miles of physical barriers.

The spending package provides $22.54 billion in total border security funding, but only $1.375 billion for 55 miles of physical barriers in the most needed areas along the southwest border. The $1.375 billion was far short of the $5.7 billion the president sought to build the wall, a key promise of his 2016 campaign.

The congressional spending deal would also require the U.S. Trade Representative to create an exclusion process for the third round of Section 301 tariffs, which imposed a 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of imports from China. This was also included in House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey’s explanatory statement released alongside the bill. She also writes that additional funds provided this year to Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security will be “devoted to an effective Section 232 exclusion process.” Currently, exclusions can only be granted for the first two rounds of tariffs on $50 billion in imports. Duties are set to increase to 25% on March 2, though the president is considering extending the deadline by 60 days.

Additionally, the path for Congress to restore tax extenders is getting narrower, since the expired tax breaks weren’t attached to the new spending bill. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he is going to look for every opportunity to try and pass legislation on tax extenders. He made a point of noting, however, that any spending legislation has to originate from the House and that he plans to meet soon with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) to discuss the issue.

The following links are provided by the House Appropriations Committee:

  • Read a division-by-division summary of border security compromise plan from Democratic and Republican lawmakers here.
  • Read the bill text here.

The following links are to the legislative text, explanatory statement, and summary for each portion of the package, provided by the Senate Majority Leader:

Click here for the Full Package Summary.

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