Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told President Donald Trump in a written letter Wednesday to spend his requested $5 billion for a border wall on efforts to combat domestic terrorism.
Schumer, alongside Sen. Patrick Leahy, argued in the latter that programs with more direct links to public safety should be prioritized when allocating federal funds, and that a border wall was uncertain to diminish the crisis at the border, the Washington Times reports.
“Specifically, we ask you to consider supporting counter-violent extremism programs, domestic terrorism investigations at the FBI, gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and support services in schools and communities, such as school counselors,” the letter reads.
Trump requested $5 billion for border wall construction next year, in addition to an $8 billion that he requested for starting construction this year, according to the Washington Times. Of the $8 billion, only $1.375 billion was approved by Congress, the rest will reportedly be reallocated from Pentagon and Treasury Department funds.
Schumer pointed out the fact that Trump only successfully secured $1.375 billion from Congress and that he lacked the needed support for his project.
“You did not have the support in Congress for an expensive and ineffective border wall then and you do not have it now,” Schumer wrote.
The other approximately $7 billion of the $8 billion claimed this year that is being shifted from the Pentagon and Treasury is being contested in court by opponents of the border wall, The Washington Times reports.
While Trump has shown some interest in further regulating firearms, including red-flag laws, expanding background checks, and banning bump stocks, it isn’t likely that he would sacrifice progress on constructing a border wall, the Washington Times says.
Before writing the letter, Schumer condemned republican actions regarding white supremacist violence in a statement to the Hill.
“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 start treating them as such,” he said.
“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,” he continued.
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