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US House to vote on $1.6 billion border wall funding

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a bill that includes funding to start building President Donald Trump’s border wall.

The president’s request of $1.6 billion to begin the construction of the border wall along the United States-Mexico border is part of the spending bill for the U.S. Department of Defense and several other agencies. The money would pay for the construction of 74 miles of physical barriers, including fencing.

Congressman Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is condemning House Republicans for including Trump’s border wall funding request in the defense spending bill.

“Members of Congress who care deeply about our national defense shouldn’t be forced to decide between voting for this nonsensical proposal and voting to fund our military,” Gallego said.

The Democratic congressman said the funding request should be brought up as a stand-alone bill, instead of an attachment to another bill. He also referred to Trump’s border wall proposal as “expensive and unnecessary.”

In a statement, the White House made the case for the $1.6 billion to begin construction of the border wall, saying, “Physical barriers are vital for border security because they deter, prevent, and deny potential illegal border crossings, for illegal alien movement generally and for human smuggling and drug smuggling specifically. ”

Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs, a Republican, is among the supporters of Trump’s border wall. In May, he proposed spending $1.4 billion for the construction of a wall along the southern border.

A KTAR News/OH Predictive Insights poll released in May found 62 percent of respondents to the poll indicated they do not want a border wall constructed on the U.S.-Mexico border. Another 37 percent said they supported the wall and 1 percent either did not know or refused to answer.

The border wall has more support among respondents who were 45 or older and lived in either Maricopa County or rural Arizona.

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