President Donald Trump's administration is asking for a lot less money to build the "big, beautiful wall" separating the U.S. from Mexico: 80 percent less, to be exact.
Included in Trump's 2018 budget, released on May 23, is a request for Congress to allocate $1.6 billion to construct the barrier, far less money than the $8-12 billion that Trump estimated he would need to have it built, according to Bloomberg.
Though some have questioned whether Trump has softened on his commitment to seeing the barrier built during his presidency, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters on May 23 that Trump and his administration "are absolutely dead serious about the wall" and that they will "press on" however they can to increase border security, notes Bloomberg.
Factoring in the $1.6 billion for the wall's construction, Trump requested $2.6 billion to help enforce immigration and improve border infrastructure in the budget for the 2018 fiscal year beginning in October.
"Asking for $12 billion in a budget for a border wall is not going to be met with great receptivity in the Senate," pointed out Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who called the budget request a "pragmatic decision."
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney pointed out that Congress typically writes its own budgets and will more than likely make extensive changes to the documents they receive; however, the president's budget can still relay important information, notes CNN.
"We take this very seriously," explained Mulvaney, according to CNN. "Why? There's a certain message here. And the message is from the president to the Congress saying, 'Here's what my priorities are... 'One of the big ticket items is I want more money for defense, I want more money for border security.'"
The "brick and mortar" element to the wall funding would cover approximately 74 miles of construction, notes Bloomberg.
Some Democrats have indicated that they might be flexible on the issue.
"There are some places along the U.S.-Mexico border where a wall makes some sense," said Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, according to Bloomberg. "Most places it does not. And we'll take a look and see what they have in mind."
Findings from an April survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggest that 58 percent of Americans -- including 86 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents -- oppose having the U.S. fund construction of a border wall, while 28 percent support it. Republicans favor it by a 2-1 margin.
Sources: Bloomberg, CNN, Associated Press / Photo Credit: Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons