Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is expected to formally petition President Trump to withdraw his request for $5 billion in border-wall funding and redirect the funds to combat “the dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism.”
Schumer will ask that Trump reallocate the border-wall funds funds, which he appropriated without congressional consent by declaring a national emergency, to programs such as the Department of Homeland Security counter-violent extremism programs, FBI domestic-terrorism investigations, and Centers for Disease Control gun-violence research, Politico reported on Monday.
“The dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism in this country are a national security threat plain and simple, and it’s time the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress starting treating them as such,” Schumer said in a statement provided to Politico. “Now Republicans and this administration need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to addressing gun violence and stopping the rise of domestic terrorism, especially stemming from white supremacy. Democrats are prepared to work in a bipartisan fashion to respond to Director Wray’s clarion call on a briefing call with Senate Democrats last week for additional resources to address this national security crisis on our own soil.”
The suspected gunman who killed 22 people at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart earlier this month specifically targeted Hispanic immigrants.
While it remains highly unlikely that Trump will abandon his long-running effort to build a wall on the southern border, Schumer’s request is intended to place public pressure on Republicans at a time of national outrage over the spate of mass shootings that shook the country two weekends ago.
In his latest budget, Trump requested an additional $8.6 billion in border-wall funding, on top of the $5 billion that he appropriated from the Department of Homeland Security construction accounts and the $3.6 billion he secured in Pentagon assistance.