Trump to sign executive order on border wall — now all he has to do is build it
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted "Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!"
Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Wednesday directing federal resources toward building the border wall between the United States and Mexico that he promised during his campaign. According to CNN, Trump is expected to announce his border plans at the Department of Homeland Security at 1:25 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. It's still unclear how Trump's wall will be different than the walls that already exist along a significant portion of the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Having failed to procure funding from the Mexican government to build the wall — despite promises that he would force it to pay — Trump now needs to get money from Congress. Capital Hill's makeup means that Trump has a unified Congress behind him, but he needs 60 votes in the Senate to pass a law appropriating the funds. That would mean peeling off eight Democrats, which could pose a hurdle.
That said, Democrats have so far made public statements about a willingness to play ball with Trump — suggesting that the president, with both houses of Congress behind him, might be able to peel off a few vulnerable members of the opposition party to obtain the approval to start plans on building a wall.
It's difficult to say whether obtaining congressional approval, negotiating contracts, and allocating federal funds required before the wall can be built will become obstacles for Trump, or whether he'll bowl his way through the bureaucratic and political morass.
Trump has a history of attacking businesses to sink their stock and renegotiate costs and has already signed an executive order placing a hiring freeze on federal employees, banned the EPA from releasing data to the public or awarding grants and reinstated the global gag rule, which prevents allocating federal funds to organizations that provide abortion services or support abortion.
According to the Hill, Trump may also seek to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which funds NPR member stations and PBS) and to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities entirely. But cutting funding to help pay for the wall doesn't stop at the arts.
The Associated Press heard from unnamed administration officials and reported that Trump will announce Wednesday said that Trump is expected to "curb funding of cities that don't arrest or detain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally" (also known as "sanctuary cities"). One such sanctuary city is San Francisco, which receives almost a billion dollars a year in federal funding. According to Mother Jones, San Francisco's federal funds amount to more than 10% of the city's budget.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes that D.C. could see 25% of its budget slashed as punishment for being a sanctuary city, which Trump believes is a "[refusal] to cooperate with federal authorities" according to statements Trump made at a rally in Phoenix back in August, CNN reported.
Government officials told the AP that the proposal "includes at least a four-month halt on all refugee admissions, as well as temporary ban on people coming from some Muslim majority countries."
Jan. 24, 2017, 11:19 a.m: This story has been updated.