Politics

White House Spokesman Defends $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley touts military funding, insists wall construction will begin 'with concrete,' points to Congressional Hispanic Caucus' opposition

America will start building a border wall this year, and it will be a real wall, a White House spokesman insisted Monday.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that President Donald Trump’s legislative team is firm that the $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress will give the chief executive flexibility to start construction on the wall along the southwest U.S. border with Mexico.

“Obviously, it’s not the total amount, but it’s not a stopping point,” he said. “It’s a starting point.”

Gidley (pictured above) disputed reports that the $1.6 billion appropriated for border security includes only money to repair existing fencing and levies. He said the legislative affairs aides at the White House say otherwise.

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“They say they can build the wall, with concrete … There are some things floating around out there when you start to look at the details. They’re muddled to some degree,” he said. “But from what I understand, we are going to build this wall. We have six months’ worth of funding. We’re going to do that. The president is not going to let this go.”

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Gidley pointed to the reaction of Democrats. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus specifically cited wall funding as a reason to oppose the spending deal, he noted.

The press secretary said Trump would continue to press for more wall funding in future budgets.

“They work,” he said. “Democrats didn’t want it. We didn’t have to give up anything to get it.”

Trump shares the concerns of conservatives who have railed against the massive price tag and jacked-up deficits resulting from the bipartisan deal, Gidley said.

But the president reluctantly agreed to sign the measure to remove uncertainty for the military, he added.

“What he did get in the bill, as you know, is funding the military. It was a campaign promise he made and a promise he’s now kept,” he said.

Securing funding eliminates the need for continuing resolutions (CR) that temporarily kept the government open for a few weeks at a time while Congress debated a long-term arrangement.

Related: Pro-Trump PAC, Dem Strategist Agree: Spending Bill Hurts GOP

“We keep punting with these CRs,” he said. “And Gen. [Secretary of Defense James] Mattis said, ‘I can’t run a military that way.'”

Asked why Republican voters should be as eager to vote in the November midterm elections as the anti-gun protesters who demonstrated at March for Our Lives events over the weekend, Gidley said constitutional liberties are at stake.

“You’ve got to go to the ballot box to protect those rights and our Constitution, or it’s going to be taken away,” he said.

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

 

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