Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is preparing to formally request that the $5 billion Trump’s administration would like spent on a border wall go instead to countering gun violence.
“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 started treating them as such,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “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.”
Schumer said that he was responding to what he had called a “clarion call” from FBI Director Christopher Wray for more support to go after extremist threats at home. Wray briefed the Senate Democratic Conference by phone last week, following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
The minority leader’s office cited plans by the Republican-led Senate Appropriations Committee, first reported by CQ Roll Call, to provide less funding for a variety of domestic programs including health and education in order to get the resources needed for the wall.
Schumer wants the money to go to a variety of programs including research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on gun violence, as well as Homeland Security and FBI programs, his office said.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican, has drafted an allocation for the fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that would provide about $5 billion less than it would have originally to provide funding for the wall.
Paul M. Krawzak contributed to this report.