Why not just spend $5 billion on a border wall with Mexico if it will shut up Donald Trump?
$5.7 billion is for the downpayment. Once the US Congress authorizes that, then the next budget cycle he’ll say “okay, fund the other $20 billion.” Otherwise you just wasted the $5.7 billion (which won’t really go for a wall, it will go for studies, roads to the border, buying materials, issuing an RFP, selection firms to fill the RFP, getting land via eminent domain from private landowners who don’t want to give up, court costs of various suits and counter suites, environmental impact statements.)When Congress balks at funding $20 billion extra in the next budget cycle (which will be in about 6 months), he’ll threaten to shutdown the ENTIRE government (this is only about half of the USG—other elements have been funded for now, Trump will be convinced he’ll have even more leverage). And we’ll then see posts by people saying “in order to get Trump to shut up, since we’ve already committed to building the wall, why don’t we just fund the rest of it?”Congress would authorize the $20 billion (in this scenario). And then we’ll discover “holy crap, the estimates that said it would be $70 billion are right.” I mean, who would expect a huge government contract to go over-budget? And here’s the dilemma—if you’ve already spent $25 billion and awarded a contract, you’re probably in the hole for the rest of it. Because the way this works is the contract award winner goes “it’s going to be an extra $5 billion” and then 6 months later says “we’ve had some problems with the initial road you build to get to the border so it’s another $5 billion” and so on. If you think I’m exaggerating, go check out any long-term DoD weapons contract and see how costs escalated a bit at a time.BTW, estimates are that the fastest possible time to acquire the land, build the roads to the border, create the foundation, and get the wall up would be: 10 years. But the $25 billion would be for just the next year (this CR and then the next budget cycle in the Fall of 2019.) So by the end of probably 2022 we will have committed to somewhere around $30–45 billion and won’t have a wall (not even an incomplete wall) and so the “crisis” won’t have been fixed.So let me ask you a question: we’ve got a President who has shut down E-verify (so people can get jobs with illegal or stolen papers and we can’t spot them), shut down the Immigration courts (so cases are being pushed back 1–2 years and the individuals are released in to the US), short-staffed and not paid the Coast Guard, Border Patrol and TSA (so our security is lessened), and you really honestly truly think that he has a clue about how to improve the security of the United States?