GOP lawmaker proposes legislative maneuver to fund Trump's border wall

GOP lawmaker proposes legislative maneuver to fund Trump's border wall
© Greg Nash

Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneSessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Israeli, Palestinian business leaders seek Trump boost for investment project Sessions vows to 'work for' Trump endorsement MORE (R-Ala.) on Monday announced legislation aimed at allowing Republicans to circumvent Senate Democrats and provide funding for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE's wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The 50 Votes for the Wall Act, introduced on Friday, would allow Congress to use the budget reconciliation process — which was used to pass the GOP's tax overhaul bill in 2017 — to get around the 60-vote threshold needed to pass legislation in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 majority.

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The bill would establish a Border Wall and Security Trust Fund, allowing the secretary of Homeland Security to request up to $25 billion from the U.S. Treasury to construct the barrier and pay for other wall-related expenses.

“Border security is national security, and we cannot allow Democrats to continue to block our efforts to build a wall along our southern border," Byrne said in a statement Monday. "That is why I am introducing the 50 Votes for the Wall Act, which creates a process to overcome the Democrat obstruction and move forward with plans to construct President Donald Trump’s border wall."

By using the reconciliation process, Republicans could dodge a potential partial government shutdown in early December as Democrats are unlikely to support a spending measure that unconditionally funds the wall. In September, President Trump threatened to shut down the government after Congress didn't approve border wall funding. He ultimately opted to keep the government open, pushing the next funding battle until after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Immigration hawks and the administration have made the border wall a top priority, with many highlighting the issue during the midterm campaign.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices CEO group pushes Trump, Congress on paid family, medical leave The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Sparks fly as House Judiciary debates impeachment articles MORE (R-Calif.) recently introduced legislation — the Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act of 2018 — that would provide an additional $23.4 billion in funding for the border wall, while cutting federal resources for so-called sanctuary cities.