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House Passes Spending Bill That Includes Wall Payment

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive $1.2 trillion spending package for the 2018 fiscal year, including a $1.6 billion down payment for President Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That provision will face an uphill climb to survive in the Senate, where the spending package is expected to undergo numerous revisions or outright rejection.

On Sept. 14, the House passed 12 spending bills as one comprehensive piece of legislation by a vote of 211 to 198. One of those spending bills included a $790 billion allocation for defense spending, with a $1.6 billion portion dedicated to building structural barriers along the border, according to the Washington Examiner. The funding would not be used to construct a literal wall, which Trump had promised on the campaign trail.

The House had previously sent a request for wall funding to the Senate on July 27 when it passed four spending bills. In the latest vote, the House combined those four measures with eight new spending bills into one singular package.

"We're knocking on the door twice," a Republican aide told the Washington Examiner.

Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass a 2018 budget. Normally, failure to deliver a budget by that date would result in a government shutdown, but recent legislation has guaranteed government funding until Dec. 8, providing lawmakers with more time to hash out a budget deal, The Associated Press reports.

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The budget package's defense spending, and the wall funding in particular, are likely to be met with scrutiny in the Senate. Senate Democrats will have to support the budget package in order for it to pass and they have been unanimously against any spending for a border wall, which Trump had pledged on the campaign trail would be paid for my the Mexican government.

The House bill's $790 billion for defense also exceeds current caps by $72 billion. The defense spending proposal would have to be slashed in order to be passed in the Senate, and the wall funding would likely be on the chopping block.

Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the ranking member of the House Appropriations committee, asserted before the vote that House Republicans had allocated too much money for defense spending, making the overall package unacceptable for Senate Democrats.

"Majority leadership must immediately convene bipartisan discussions to develop a new budget agreement with realistic caps on defense and nondefense spending," Lowey said, according to Politico.

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Trump has drawn criticism from some of his conservative allies for pursuing a deal with Democrats that would preserve protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients without securing wall funding in exchange.

On Sept. 14, Trump asserted that the potential deal would protect DACA recipients in exchange for more border security, NBC News reports.

"We're working a plan," Trump told reporters while surveying Hurricane Irma damage in Florida on Sept. 14. "We'll see how it works out. We're going to get massive border security as part of that."

The president added: "The wall is going to be built. It will be funded a little bit later."

Sources: AP via the Chicago Tribune, NBC NewsPoliticoWashington Examiner / Featured Image: Paul Ryan/Twitter / Embedded Images: Philip Gingrey/Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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