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Current version of omnibus bill includes $641 million for 33-mile stretch of border fence

U.S. President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes on March 13 in San Diego. A spending bill before Congress could provide funding for a 33-mile stretch of border fence. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border was one of President Donald Trump’s most repeated campaign promises. Now Congress is considering giving him a partial victory by proposing a plan to fund a 33-mile stretch of fence.

Congress will need to decide on this quickly, however, if it wants to avoid another government shutdown.

The wording of the border fence proposal, which is part of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package that will be voted on by Congress once congressional leaders can agree on the wording, specifies that the barrier will not be made out of concrete.

This partial fence would cost $641 million.

The proposed spending package also includes $1.3 billion for technology to secure the border. While before the election Trump initially insisted that he wanted a physical wall rather than a “virtual” one, he has since said that he is open to using technology to guard the border in some areas in place of a wall.

This is much less than the $25 billion for the wall that Trump was hoping to secure.

The White House had previously asked for $1.6 billion from Congress to fund the wall, but the version that ended up in the spending bill was much smaller. This spending bill would also not withhold money from Planned Parenthood or from “sanctuary cities” that defy federal immigration laws.

A version of this bill has yet to be presented to the House or the Senate for a vote. The bill was supposed to be submitted to Congress by Monday, but congressional leaders could not agree on a version of the bill before that deadline passed. A spending bill, or at least a temporary stopgap measure, will have to pass Congress by Friday at midnight in order to avoid another government shutdown.

In January, the U.S. military and U.S. Customs and Border Protection tested several border wall prototypes to determine which ones would be the most effective. The results of this test determined that the best design involved a see-through steel barrier topped by concrete. Trump has said before that he wants a wall to cover around 1,000 miles of the border between then United States and Mexico.

One last thing…
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