Health

Budget Chief Offers Compromise To Fund Border Wall

| by Lauren Briggs
Mick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on April 21 that President Donald Trump's administration is willing to help Democrats fund the Affordable Care Act if they contribute money to the planned construction of a wall separating the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Mulvaney, funding from the White House would likely come in the form of insurance reimbursements commonly called cost-sharing reduction (CSR), reports The Hill.

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"We'd offer them $1 of CSR payments for $1 of wall payments," the budget chief told Bloomberg. "Right now that's the offer that we've given to our Democratic colleagues."

Trump's administration has indicated that the wall is a high priority and that they will do what they can to fund it.

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"We know there are a lot of people on the Hill, especially in the Democratic Party, who don't like the wall, but they lost the election," explained Mulvaney, according to The Washington Times. "And the president should, I think, at least have the opportunity to fund one of his highest priorities in the first funding bill under his administration."

Indeed, Mulvaney told The Associated Press on April 20 that, more than anything else in the budget, Republican leaders are looking to pass "wall funding" and more money for immigration "agents," notes The Hill.

As the April 28 deadline to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year draws closer, the GOP is looking to work with Democratic legislators in order to avoid a government shutdown.

But Democrats might not be as willing to accept the offer.

"I think there's agreement, quiet agreement in the four corners, that if the president doesn't interfere and insist on poison-pill amendments to be shoved down the throat of the Congress, we can come up with an agreement," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.

Schumer's spokesman Matt House told reporters that the White House  was trying to "hold hostage health care for millions of Americans" to make taxpayers fund the wall, which Trump said during his campaign that Mexico would pay for.

"Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand. Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well," House said on April 20.

Despite Schumer's hesitance to work with the GOP on the wall, Mulvaney said that Republicans will not budge on the matter so easily.

"This president should be allowed to have his highest priorities funded even though the Democrats rightly have a seat at the table because of the Senate rules," he told Bloomberg Live, according to The Hill. "But you cannot expect a president who just won [an] election to give up very easily on his highest priority."

Sources: The Hill, Bloomberg, Washington Times / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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