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Trump to seek another US$8.6b for border wall

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US President Donald Trump will seek US$8.6 billion in fresh funding fora wall on the US-Mexico border in the 2020 budget request, likely triggering another fight with Congress, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday.

[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump will seek US$8.6 billion in fresh funding fora wall on the US-Mexico border in the 2020 budget request, likely triggering another fight with Congress, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday.

The request, which is to be formally unveiled on Monday, would far exceed the US$5.7 billion Mr Trump demanded last year, which led to an impasse that resulted in a 35-day partial shutdown of the US government, the longest ever.

Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer decried the move, warning Mr Trump that another legislative defeat would await him.

Mr Kudlow, interviewed on "Fox News Sunday," conceded that the new request would likely mean a renewed fight in Congress over wall funding.

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"I suppose there will be," he said.

But he said Mr Trump "is going to stay with his wall. He is going to stay with his border security. I think it's essential."

Separately, Mr Kudlow expressed optimism that US economic growth will surpass three per cent "in 2019 and beyond."

'EXPENSIVE AND INEFFECTIVE' 

With Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, Mr Trump's new wall-funding request appears to stand little chance.

In a joint statement, Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer charged that Mr Trump "hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall."

"Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson," they said.

The Washington Post reported that the president's request for wall funding will come in the form of US$5 billion from the Homeland Security Department and US$3.6 billion from the Pentagon.

That would be on top of the US$6.7 billion in wall funding that Mr Trump has ordered redirected from other government programs under a national emergency he declared last month.

He declared the emergency after the Congress approved only US$1.375 billion for construction of 90km of barriers along the border in Texas.

The emergency declaration was roundly criticised by Democrats, joined by a handful of Republicans, who said it represented a possibly unconstitutional overreach of presidential authority.

SENATE VOTE ON EMERGENCY 

Some Republicans expressed fear that Mr Trump could be setting a precedent that a future Democratic president might cite to pursue a pet project opposed by Congress.

The Democratic-controlled House voted last month by 245-to-182 to nullify Mr Trump's emergency declaration.

The Senate, narrowly controlled by Republicans, is to vote on the same resolution this week. At least four members of Trump's party have said they plan - despite pressure from Republican leaders and the White House - to join Democrats in opposing the declaration.

That would provide a majority for overturning the declaration, and Mr Trump would then be expected to veto the bill, his first use of presidential veto power.

"He's going to veto this," John Barrasso, the third-ranking Senate Republican, told Fox News, "and then his veto will be sustained. They will not be able to override the veto."

Overriding a presidential veto requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress.

AFP