Monday, May 1, 2017

US Congress Doping Budget Defense, Not One Dollar For Wall

The US Congress negotiators agreed to boost the defense budget, as President Donald Trump demanded, but they did not approve his request to finance the construction of a wall on the Mexican border.

Democratic opposition and Republican majority unveiled on the night of Sunday to Monday the fruit of several weeks of complex negotiations to finance the federal state until the end of the fiscal year 2017, until September 30.

The House of Representatives and then the Senate should adopt this text before the end of the week, avoiding a closure of the central administrations, which are financed only until Friday evening at midnight.

The bill is declining $ 1,163 billion in spending for the year, just under one-third of the federal budget, while the other two-thirds (social spending, retirement, etc.) is in automatic steering, To approve the expenditure.

Of these more than $ 1 trillion, Defense obtained 598.5, an increase of 25 billion or 4.5% compared to 2016, and 3.8% compared to what Barack Obama had asked last year.

In March, Donald Trump asked for a $ 30 billion extension to the current trajectory: parliamentarians gave him half, with $ 2.5 billion conditional on the US president 's presentation of a comprehensive strategy to defeat the " Organization Islamic State.

But the Democrats, whose votes will be necessary in the Senate, have won their case on the border wall project, to which they are totally opposed. No dollar will be used to start the work.

Instead, $ 1.5 billion is provided for investments in border security technologies, tactical infrastructure, and upgrades. No hiring of an immigration officer to expedite evictions is permitted.

"This law will prevent taxpayers' money from funding an ineffective border wall," said Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer.

- Defeat on the wall -

The defense budget includes new aircraft, helicopters, drones and ships and a salary increase of 2.1% for the 1.3 million US soldiers, as well as $ 150 million in lethal and non-lethal 'Ukraine.

"America will be stronger and safer with this budget," said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. "It is the commitment of President Trump to rebuild our army for the 21st century and to strengthen our borders to protect our country."

The Democrats, however, managed to avoid the draconian cuts Donald Trump wanted in some areas.

The operating budget of the State Department and foreign aid is down slightly, but symbolic compared to the 28% reduction demanded by the president in March.

Also in the sights of the Conservatives and its new climate-skeptical director Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) saves furniture, with a 1% reduction in its budget, which will mainly affect research programs And regulations.

But the exclusion of any credit to build the wall at the southern border represents a real defeat for the US president, which is one of the key promises.

"We have all the time it takes," Dump Trump said last week, hammering that the wall would be erected before the end of his term. Currently, only part of the more than 3,000 km of the border is materialized by fences.

The White House had explained that project planning could already start and calls for proposals have already been launched. The real battle for funding will take place in the next budget, the year 2018, which will begin on October 1st.

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