US President Donald Trump has asked Congress to cut nearly $18 billion from vital domestic programs to help pay for his proposed border wall along the Mexico border.
The request for the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, could spark a major spending showdown just a month before a deadline to keep the government funded.
The proposal targets programs like education, healthcare and housing, as well as international food aid.
The $17.94 billion cut would help the government partially offset its budget deficit by paying for Trump’s military supplemental request, which was sent to Congress earlier this month. About $2 billion would also go towards the construction of the southern wall.
Trump has asked for $33 billion in new military and border spending.
Congress should enact the spending legislation to fund federal agencies by April 28 to prevent a government shutdown.
Senate Democrats have threatened to block the stopgap bill, if money for the border wall is included.
Republicans are also skeptical that a bill containing funding for Trump’s wall would pass.
“They will not pass together,” Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt told the AP. “That’s just my view.”
“There is no path to put a supplemental (wall) as currently described on that package,” added Blunt, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed that Mexico would pay for the wall designed to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States
. The Mexican government has strongly rejected the claim.
The wall could end up costing as much as $21.6 billion, far more than the administration’s estimate of $12 billion, according to reports.