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House Panel Unveils Bill To Fund US-Mexico Border Wall

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The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee Tuesday unveiled a bill that includes $1.6 billion fund for building President Donald Trump's long- promised wall along the US-Mexico border.

Congressional funding for the border wall is not well taken by Democrats and a section among Republicans.

The legislation takes the Trump administration and its allies on Capitol Hill to another round of collision with the Democrats, who are expected to fight tooth and nail to block the request.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi condemned the move by saying that "the Republicans are trying to put American taxpayers on the hook for the multi-billion dollar boondoggle President Trump swore Mexico would pay for."

Trump had vowed that his administration will make Mexico pay for the wall, but the southern neighbor had made it clear that it will not be footing the bill.

"President Trump's immoral, ineffective and expensive wall is strongly opposed by Democrats and by many Republicans as well. A wall of bipartisan opposition is the only thing House Republicans are trying to build here," the House Minority leader said.

The border wall is part of the proposed fiscal year 2018 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, which targets aviation security, border and immigration enforcement, customs activities, protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S.

In total, the legislation directs $44.3 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, an increase of $1.9 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. In addition, the bill includes $6.8 billion for disaster relief and emergency response activities through FEMA.

The bill contains $13.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for Customs and Border Protection. Besides allocating $1.6 billion for physical barrier construction along the Southern border, the Bill requests $100 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents, $131 million for new border technology, $106 million for new aircraft and sensors, and $109 million for new, non-intrusive inspection equipment.

by RTT Staff Writer

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