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House GOP Plans Money For Border Wall

| by Jordan Smith

House Republicans are working to grant President Donald Trump money to begin construction of his promised wall on the border with Mexico without a House vote on the project.

GOP representatives will include the $1.6 billion requested by the White House in a larger package of spending totaling more than $700 billion, according to The Associated Press.

A procedural vote will be held July 27 to incorporate the funding into a bill that contains money for the military and other departments. An up-and-down vote on the wall could result in failure, according to Politico.

"This week, we're going to take action on key elements of the president's strategy to secure our borders, including the resources for a physical barrier," Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin told AP. "You see the fact that the cartels are staging just over the river, there is a need for a physical barrier in many parts of this border."

The House Rules Committee can attach the border wall funding to the spending package without holding a full House vote.

Not all House Republicans are prepared to vote to fund the wall.

"I'm not a huge proponent of the wall," said Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. "I remember, 'Mexico's going to pay for this wall.' And now taxpayers are paying for it. What happened to that promise, along with many others?"

The GOP strategy would mean that Ros-Lehtinen and other opponents would not have to cast a vote on funding the wall.

The amendment will include funding for 60 miles of additional fencing in Texas and 14 miles in San Diego. An additional $40 million will also be made available for planning further border wall construction.

Some Republicans are unhappy with the pace of progress on the wall.

"The people in our administration, the president excluded, are looking at a diminished, not very aggressive approach to the wall," said Rep. Steve King of Iowa. "If we're going to have a 2,000-barrier, put that plan together …. If you start with a piecemeal approach it’s awfully hard to get to the full picture."

Democrats are also dissatisfied, but for different reasons. While a majority of Democrats backed a bill in May that provided $340 million for repairs to existing border fencing, many will vote against the latest spending package.

"I think, overwhelmingly, Democrats are gonna not be for this bill," said Democratic House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Politico reported.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona called on fellow Democrats to vote no on the bill, which will also include Pentagon funding.

"I don't think they should fall for this trick," said Gallego. "You can be pro-military and against the wall."

Are Republicans right to avoid a House vote?
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