President Donald Trump might not have gotten the $1.4 billion he wanted from Congress to fund the construction of a wall separating the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border, but his administration announced May 2 they had negotiated a successful "down payment" for the barrier in the legislature's budget.
"We have more money now for the border than we've gotten in ten years," Trump said at an Air Force Academy football team ceremony, according to Politico. "The Democrats didn't tell you that. They forgot. In their notes, they forgot to tell you that. … And make no mistake, we are beginning to build the wall."
Trump explained that his "Republican team had its own victory under the radar" that includes "enough money to make a down payment on the border wall" in the funding package.
"We're putting up a lot of new wall in certain areas," he explained. "We're putting up a tremendous amount of money to fix the existing structures that we have, some of which we can keep into the future."
Also on May 2, White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted photos of border walls and said that the president "just negotiated a spending deal where we can build these."
Some Democratic lawmakers jumped into the discussion to refute the news.
"To be clear, there is NO funding in this bill for ANY kind of down payment on construction of a new border wall," Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s ranking member, tweeted May 2, according to Politico.
Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said May 1 that her party had "handed President Trump a resounding defeat in the omnibus bill" and that the spending package "does not fund the immoral and unwise border wall," nor does it "create a new deportation force," according to USA Today.
The bill does include $341 million that goes toward replacement fencing and gates along the border. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney explained that the existing "cyclone fencing" will be swapped out for 20-foot-high steel walls.
"That's what we got in the bill and that's what Democrats don't want you to know," Mulvaney said at a press conference, adding, "the president's priority was to secure the southern border, and this is what this does."
Trump added that the government would "bring [the wall structures] back to the highest level," thanks to the payment.