President Trump is starting to realize that building the wall is going to cost a lot of money, and he’s given up on saying that Mexico will pay for it—even though he wants to build on their land. Instead, he’s proposing to immediately cut $18 billion from medical research, infrastructure, and community grants.
Congress is currently in negotiations over a spending bill, trying to avoid a partial government shutdown next month. They are trying to decide on $1.1 trillion in unfinished spending bills, and deal with Trump’s request for an immediate $30 billion for the Pentagon.
As the negotiations grow more heated, Senate Republicans now want to avoid a showdown with Democrats over the wall’s expenses. Democrats threaten to filibuster any funds going to the wall, and since the White House hasn’t given Republicans—or Democrats—any specifics about the wall, they are starting to side against the President.
A shutdown would be more political ruin for the Republicans, who have not been performing well lately. The shutdown, plus their failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, makes their chances for reelection less and less likely. Now, Trump is asking that they cut programs that both sides of the aisle like, such as the National Institutes of Health grants, community development grants, and transportation grants. To pay for the wall, Trump is “cutting programs vital to the middle class,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Build the wall or repair or build a bridge or tunnel or road in your community? What’s the choice?”