Congress's massive new spending bill completely whiffed on Trump's demands for 'the wall'

Mario Tama/Getty ImagesKids peer through the US-Mexico border fence while standing on the Mexican side of the fence

  • President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he “Got $US1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border.”
  • In reality, he didn’t.
  • The new omnibus funding bill includes no money for Trump’s proposed wall.
  • It does contain funding to build 47 miles of fencing similar to what exists now.
  • Additionally, the bill would replace 45 miles of existing fencing.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the administration secured a big win as part of Congress’ massive new funding bill: money to start building the wall along the US-Mexico border.

“Got $US1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming,” Trump tweeted.

But in reality, there’s no funding for the wall in the bill – at least not the kind that Trump described during his campaign.

The massive $US1.3 trillion omnibus bill does not include funding for what Trump typically refers to as the “Wall.” Instead, the bill includes just under $US1.6 billion for increased border security.

As part of that funding, the omnibus directs roughly 92 miles of border barriers to be built or replaced, less than the “more than 100 miles of new construction for the border wall” the White House touted in a statement before the bill’s release.

Also, rather than one of the 30-foot tall prototypes for the wall that Trump visited on March, any additional security is limited to the same model of fencing and levees currently used along the border.

In total, the bill contains three separate outlays for changes to physical border barriers:

  • $US251 million for 14 miles of new secondary fencing along the border in the San Diego sector. This was a request from Trump’s budget.
  • $US445 million to replace existing fencing. According to congressional aides, this should refurbish 45 miles worth of barriers.
  • $US641 million for 33 miles of new fencing and levees in the Rio Grande Valley sector.

Those items are short of Trump’s goal, and the funding is nowhere near the $US25 billion the White House sought in negotiations for the wall.

Democrats appeared ready to give Trump the full wall request during the negotiations on the omnibus, according to reports, in exchange for the codification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.

The DACA program protects from deportation close to 700,000 unauthorised immigrants that arrived in the US as minors. Trump ended the program in September, but gave Congress until March 5 to codify the program into law. After a court blocked the administration from ending the program, that deadline was pushed back, but Democrats have still pushed to provide certainty to the issue.

But talks fell through when Trump balked at giving DACA recipients further protections.

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