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Trump proposes $2B for border wall; Democrats criticize priorities

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump proposed to spend about $2 billion to build about 82 miles of additional wall along the southern border, the latest contribution to a 1,000-mile project approved during his first term in office, under the budget blueprint released Monday.

“Border security remains a top administration priority, and the budget continues to implement the president’s direction to secure the U.S. southwest border,” according to a budget statement.

But congressional Democrats criticized the spending priority, creating doubts about whether the funding would be approved as part of spending bills later this year.

“Instead of prioritizing policies to strengthen our national security and bolster American leadership and values, the president once again proposes wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on an unnecessary and divisive border wall,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he tours a section of the southern border wall, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Otay Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ORG XMIT: CAEV426

Extending and enhancing the border wall has been one of Trump’s top priorities – and a leading bone of contention with Congress – since he took office. The $2 billion proposal is more than Congress agreed to provide this year, but less than the $5 billion for wall construction that Trump proposed last year.

The administration projected that about 400 miles of border wall will have been built by the end of 2020 and an additional 600 miles is projected with funding approved during the last three years. Those figures would represent significant increases in wall construction.

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