Washington, Apr 25 (EFE).- Republican lawmakers on Tuesday removed from their budget demands the funds previously allocated to build the border wall with Mexico, given that Democrats were unwilling to agree to back the budget with that line item in place and after President Donald Trump softened his stance on the matter.
The president seems to be open to withdrawing his insistence that the $1.4 billion in financing he had demanded for the barrier be included in the budget, and the aim of the shift was clearly to achieve a consensus among lawmakers on the federal budget, which must be approved before Friday if a partial government shutdown is to be avoided.
After Trump went public with his budget proposal last month, in which he included his request for funding to start construction of the wall, Democrats drew a line in the sand and warned the president that they would block any budget bill that included it.
The Democrats’ unwillingness to compromise on the issue seems to have been effective in terms of obtaining their initial objective.
As EFE confirmed with Senate officials, the conservative leadership in the upper house on Tuesday presented a new proposal with the wall construction funds out of the equation, although it includes funding for strengthening security along the US-Mexico frontier.
Part of the new financing would be destined for repairing the fences that already exist along the border and for new monitoring technology to patrol the zone.
On Monday evening, Trump softened his stance on his demand for immediate funding for wall construction, saying during a meeting with a group of conservative media outlets that he could wait until autumn for the funds and include them in the budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which will be negotiated at that time.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer, however, said that Trump remains intent on building a wall in the coming months and the administration will continue working on that and preparing to begin construction while negotiations are under way for next fiscal year’s budget.
Shortly thereafter, after signing some executive orders on agriculture and taking questions from reporters, Trump repeated that the US “desperately” needs the wall, adding that it will be build “soon.”
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Trump’s shift was “good news,” adding that it eliminates “the prospect of a needless fight over a poison pill proposal that members of both parties don’t support.”