Pentagon, border wall covered in $788B House spending bill

Trump's border wall rises in GOP agenda

That's a small victory given how uncertain an up-or-down vote would have been in the House, where moderates remain noncommittal. The $788 billion (Rs 5,06,093 crore) spending Bill also allocated $658 billion (Rs 4,22,600 crore) for the defence department, reported Reuters. The measure, expected to pass on Friday, combines four appropriations bills into one. GOP leaders did not want to force a showdown with Democrats over the wall and Trump reluctantly agreed.

"Funding $1.6 billion for an unnecessary border wall is nothing but wasteful spending generated from an idea touted on the campaign trail: we need to "build a great wall", AILA President Annaluisa Padilla said in a statement.

Mexico has flatly refused to pay and in recent weeks Trump indicated that there could be portions of the border that are not conducive to a wall.

But most of the sweeping Pentagon increases - which total about $60 billion above current levels and nearly $30 billion higher than Trump's budget - would evaporate next year unless there's a bipartisan agreement to raise budget "caps" set by a 2011 budget pact. More than 700 miles of fencing and other border barricades were built about a decade ago.

Senate Democrats are demanding equal increases to domestic and military spending in any funding agreement, a debate that will heat up closer to the October 1 deadline for Congress to fund the government. That fencing was built in the areas that are most vulnerable to illegal crossings.

"The Trump administration has defended the wall".

"A good fence or wall will make a good neighbor", said Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican. The fact is it could cost as much as $30 or $40 billion.

"The people in our administration, the president excluded, are looking at a diminished, not very aggressive approach to the wall", said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. For now, the Senate is working in a bipartisan fashion on a sharply different set of bills that, on average, are frozen at current levels.

In interviews in recent weeks with more than a half-dozen Republican senators from states that voted for Trump for president last November، only Ted Cruz of Texas embraced building the wall.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll this spring found 58 percent of respondents were opposed to funding the wall with just 28 percent in favor.

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