Trump’s Border Wall Would Use 0.034% of Federal Spending

Terence P. Jeffrey | January 9, 2018 | 12:20pm EST
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Construction of border fencing in El Paso, Texas. (U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement photo)

( - President Donald Trump’s current border wall proposal would cost $18 billion over the next ten years, according to an estimate U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent to members of Congress last week.

“The Trump administration is asking Congress for nearly $18 billion to construct more than 700 miles of new and replacement barriers along the Southwest border, its most detailed description yet of the president’s vision of a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

That $18 billion would equal just 0.0338 percent of the $53.128 trillion the Congressional Budget Office currently estimates the federal government will spend over that same 10-year period.

It also equals only 2.7 percent of the money the federal government will spend on the food stamp program (the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”), which will eat up $679 billion in the ten fiscal years from 2018 through 2027, according to CBO’s estimate.

The $679 billion the CBO estimates the federal government will spend on food stamps during that ten years is 37.7 times as much as the $18 billion it would spend on President Trump’s proposed border wall.

At the same time, the $18 billion required for the border wall would equal a mere 0.34 percent of the $5.232 trillion CBO estimates that the federal government will spend on Medicaid over the next ten years.

While the nation is preparing to spend a total of $6.838 trillion on national defense over the next ten years, according to CBO, the $18 billion that President Trump would like to see dedicated to defending the U.S.-Mexico border with a wall would equal only 0.26 percent of that.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin criticized the administration’s proposal to spend $18 billion over the next decade building a border wall, suggesting it could lead to a government shutdown this month.

“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction,” Durbin said in a statement.

There would be a “government shutdown” over the wall if Senate Democrats, who are in the minority, blocked the new bill needed to fund the federal government when the law currently funding the federal government expires on January 19.

According to CBO’s latest baseline budget projections, the federal government will spend $53,128,000,000,000 in the ten years from fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2027.

The $18,000,000,000 that Trump is proposing to spend building the border wall over those same ten fiscal years would equal 0.0388 percent of that $53,128,000,000,000 in total spending.

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