Congress to approve $1.375 billion for border wall in 2021


Congress will approve $1.375 billion for a wall along the southern border as part of the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the next fiscal year, according to GOP sources.

Congress is expected to pass the measure on Monday along with a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill. The White House signaled Sunday evening that President Trump would sign it.

Trump had previously given conflicting signals on whether he'd support the massive package, which congressional leaders in both parties backed on Sunday. The money for the border wall, which matches the funding included last year for Trump's signature issue, could represent another reason for Trump to sign the bill.

Funding for the wall has been a regular sticking point in annual spending bills, and led to the nation's longest  government shutdown in December 2018. 

Budget law requires the government to spend appropriated funds, but it is unclear whether President-elect Joe Biden will seek a way to circumvent the law or whether Congress would take action to enforce the law.

The funding for the wall in this measure would continue after Trump leaves office.

Trump had requested $2 billion for the wall in 2021, but Democrats put no funding for the project in their appropriations bills, going so far as to claw back funds from previous years and block transfers from other accounts using emergency powers in legislation that passed in the House.

The $1.375 billion figure is the same that Democrats and Republicans agreed upon in a compromise spending bill last year.

While in previous years Trump was vocal about insisting that the wall be funded, the issue took a back burner in this year's negotiations as Congress focused on the COVID-19 legislation.

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