President Donald Trump has asked Congress for $4.5 billion in emergency funding for border security. This is in addition to the money he previously reallocated using an emergency declaration.
What’s the context?
In February, Trump announced that he was declaring a national emergency in order to get border security funding that Congress had denied him. Congress had agreed to $1.375 billion, but Trump had wanted $5.7 billion. This impasse led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
The shutdown ended only when Trump agreed to sign a spending bill with some border security funding into law, and then circumvent Congress and use a national emergency declaration to move about $6 billion to securing the border.
Even members of Trump’s own party, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), tried to discourage him from using this drastic measure, arguing that a future president could use a similar emergency declaration to force through policies of their own.
In March, Trump indicated that he would ask Congress for $8.6 billion in additional funding to be used for the construction of a border wall.
Now he’s requesting $4.5 in additional emergency funds for securing the border.
What happened now?
In his request for emergency funding, the Washington Post reported, White House acting budget director Russ Vought wrote, “the situation becomes more dire each day. The migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis is rapidly overwhelming the ability of the Federal Government to respond.”
This new funding would include $1.1 billion for border security, $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance, and $377 million for Department of Defense and National Guard work at the border.
Vought argued that without a cash infusion, the Department of Health and Human Services would soon be unable to maintain all of its current programs and also provide child welfare services for illegal immigrant children. He painted a picture of “thousands of children” stuck “for lengthy periods of time in facilities that were never intended to be long-term shelters” if this funding wasn’t approved.
With the Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives, it is not clear if Trump can get that $4.5 billion without triggering another budget crisis.