Congress

New Bipartisan Spending Deal Includes Billions More for Border Barriers, TSA, and Everything In Between

With the federal government $22 trillion in debt, Congress has decided to spend more money.

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William Graves/Dreamstime.com

Late last night, the House and Senate budget committees agreed to a new spending package that will avert an impending government shutdown. The bipartisan agreement gives President Donald Trump less than he wanted for border security, but more than he asked for on most other line items in the budget.

This new appropriations package—technically a combination of seven different spending bills—allocates $328.6 billion in discretionary spending for everything from homeland security and the State Department to the transportation and housing; a $54 billion increase from the White House's 2019 budget request.

One of the few expenditures to receive less money than requested was the border wall. Trump had insisted on $5.7 billion in new funding for 200 miles of wall. The deal struck by Congress instead allocates $1.3 billion on 55 miles of "physical barrier" in the Rio Grande Valley.

Whether it actually funds a "border wall"—the proximate cause of the previous month-long shutdown—is still up for debate.

"This legislation makes a significant down payment on the border wall and provides a bipartisan path forward to complete the remaining [Fiscal Year 2019] spending bills," said Sen. Richard Shelby (R–Ala.) in a statement which urged his colleagues to approve the package.

However, Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D–N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, insists this is a victory for wall opponents, saying in a press release that "this agreement denies funding for President Trump's border wall and includes several key measures to make our immigration system more humane."

Trump himself tweeted approvingly of the deal on Tuesday, before details were finalized, writing "not an easy task, but the Wall is being built and will be a great achievement and contributor toward life and safety within our Country!" A tweet issued today by the president says that he and his advisors are reviewing the deal.

That the same budget item can mean all things to all people shows how silly the past few months of budgetary politics have been, particularly when one considers all the new, less controversial border security funding included in this new deal.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be getting an additional $2 billion above what Trump asked for in his budget request.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—which oversees Border Patrol—is getting $15 billion, including nearly $1 billion more in discretionary funds than it received in fiscal year 2018, and some $734 million more than Trump requested in his budget proposal. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will get $7.5 billion, roughly $500 million more than last year, but $700 million less than what was requested by the White House. Another $100 million would go toward new border security spending, according to a summary of the spending plan.

Overall, the new spending agreement hashed out by Congress includes $22.5 billion for border security.

Some of the new funding is earmarked for improving conditions in immigration detention facilities, and for finding alternatives to detention for suspected illegal immigrants. Nevertheless, for all the heated rhetoric about border security and immigration, this spending agreement largely represents a doubling down on our current immigration status quo, something Reason's Nick Gillespie noted earlier this week.

"On immigration, as on many other issues, it turns out that the differences between Republicans and Democrats is more about semantics and small details rather than contrasting principles," wrote Gillespie.

Several other agencies are also getting billion-dollar spending increases.

The Transportation Security Administration, part of DHS, gets close to $900 million in new discretionary funding, which will be used to pay for salary increases, more agents, and an additional 50 canine teams.

The Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) get funding increases of $500 million and $1 billion respectively, despite Trump's demands to scale back these departments significantly.

The same goes for spending on the Departments Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, and State, which all get slight boosts over 2018 levels.

The Wall Street Journal notes that some conservative members of Congress think the agreement spends too much, and that a few progressives are troubled by how much it spends on border security.

The spending package is nevertheless expected to be passed today with overwhelming support from both Republicans and Democrats. If passed, it will fund the government through September 30.

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25 responses to “New Bipartisan Spending Deal Includes Billions More for Border Barriers, TSA, and Everything In Between

  1. OT: Amazon pulled out of New York for HQ2.

    State Senator who publicly criticized Amazon locating in NY is (choose only one)

    [ ] Happy Amazon is leaving
    [ ] Crying over Amazon leaving.

    1. [ X ] Waiting for polling results before determining his emotional state.

    2. Stupid move to begin with.

      1. Right? NY? What were they thinking?

        1. Worst corporate location decision since putting EuroDisney in France.

    3. From the NYT article about it:

      Both the mayor’s and the governor’s offices reassured Amazon executives that, despite the vocal criticism, the deal they had negotiated would be approved. But the company appeared upset at even a moderate level of resistance, the person said.

      Amazon’s leadership agreed to pull out of New York on Wednesday evening, according to two people familiar with the decision. The company did not inform the governor or the mayor until Thursday morning, shortly before posting its announcement.

      I think Amazon finally realized what it was getting itself into by locating a headquarters in NY. Oh sure, they’ll lure you in with incentives and promises, but it’s a trap. After a few years, they’ll start to squeeze and squeeze until you regret ever thinking it was a good idea.

      1. This tells you all you need to know.

        “We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.”

        All those demands we were heaping on you? Those were your opportunities to be a good neighbor, asshole.

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  2. So are you suggesting, then, that the president veto this atrocity of a spending bill?

    1. That would be ideal, yes.

  3. More spending? Color me shocked.

  4. I wouldn’t be too worried. Trump promised us just last year that he won’t sign another bloated bill that increases spending.


    Knowing that conservatives are not thrilled with the bill, which was 2,232 pages long and released just Wednesday night, Trump made a promise.

    “I will never sign another bill like this again,” he said. “Nobody read it, it’s only hours old.”

    So we should be good.

  5. Bezos got used to pulling out while he was cheating on MacKenzie. Just comes naturally now.

    1. Sorry, this was meant to be a response to Diane Reynolds’ post.

  6. Another decade of this or less, and it won’t matter.

    1. It’s true. Certain problems inevitably solve themselves.

    2. Climate change will destroy us in ~11 years and 7 months.

  7. National debt is a far greater threat to the health and safety of kids today than climate change and gun rights put together. It will enslave them for years, yet they are silent about it. This really makes me sick. I blame them not the politicians. I wish they would speak out about this with the same passion as gun control.

    1. The kids don’t know any better because they haven’t been taught any better. It’s the parents who are to blame. The baby boomers and gen xers actually should know better. They’ve been around long enough.

  8. This bill is outrageous!! It is an OPEN BORDERS bill

    Amnesty/sanctuary provision!! ICE not allowed to deport huge class of illegals.

    Expands catch and release

    Requires ICE to let asylum fraudsters into the country who mostly remain forever as illegals . . . even to BUS them directly to pro-migration activist centers!!!

    3.4 billion for refugees. Unbelievable billions for foreign aid, foreign health services etc.

    The American People have become ENSLAVED to the malevolent internationalist order . . .

  9. They can give Trump $54 billion more than he asked for in other things, but not a few billion for a wall. $5 billion is chump change in Washington.

  10. If they give so much as a dollar to build a wall the congress will be hooked. Spending will double regularly until it is in the billions.

  11. Right. It makes you wonder what Rebublicans like Mitch McConnell are thinking.

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  13. By linking recent budget talks to the controversy over building a wall Washington has again diverted the eyes of our nation away from the wild deficit spending taking place. Then, in rapid fashion, Congress passed and the president signed the pork packed deal by the Friday deadline so all the players could take their victory laps and claim democracy works. The article below finds fault with this sad chain of events.

    https://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2019/02/ washington-has-again-diverted-our-eyes.html

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