WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Democratic lawmakers are in a standoff over funding the government, and the main sticking point is Trump’s demand for $5 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump said during the campaign he was going to make Mexico pay for the barrier — but now he’s asking U.S. taxpayers to fund construction. If there’s no agreement, a partial government shutdown begins at midnight Friday.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders signaled on Tuesday that Trump may be willing to work with Congress to avert a shutdown.
Here’s a look at the status of wall.
IS IT A WALL OR A FENCE?
In Washington, it depends on who you ask. The president, seeking to show progress on one of his signature campaign promises, has repeatedly said he’s begun construction on the wall with smaller amounts of money that Congress approved for border security. The Democrats, seeking to prove they haven’t caved to Trump, say they would only fund improvements to border security that include fencing.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan called it a “border wall system” with Mexico that would include natural barriers and steel fencing that agents can see through.
The March funding bill, passed with support from both parties, funded construction that greatly resembles some form of wall.
It included $641 million for 33 miles of construction in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest area for illegal crossings. In one section, U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to install 18-foot-tall bollards with narrow spacing between each post.
According to an online solicitation, the agency plans to install the bollards atop “a concrete wall to the approximate height of the levee crest.” In some places, the wall and the bollards would exceed 30 feet.
Contracts have been awarded to build some 33 miles (53 kilometers) of wall in the Rio Grande Valley. Construction is scheduled to start in February. A federal judge last week ordered two hold-out landowners to allow surveyors onto their property after the government took them to court.
WHAT IS ALREADY CONSTRUCTED?
Overall some type of barrier runs along about 685 miles (1,046 kilometers) of the 1,954-mile (3,126-kilometer) border.
But 654 miles (1,052 kilometers) came before Trump took office, constructed under the Secure Fence Act during the Bush administration.
As Republicans have since pointed out, a majority of Democrats in the Senate voted for the act, including then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
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