Trump’s Priority In Pandemic: Border Wall Funding
May 20, 2020
This week, Trump made his priority clear: building his border wall, but nothing more for the states, laid-off workers, National Guard, or small businesses who have been catastrophically impacted by coronavirus.
Trump gave a $1.3 billion contract to a firm linked to his allies to build his unnecessary border wall.
Washington Post: “Trump’s preferred construction firm lands $1.3 billion border wall contract, the biggest so far”
Washington Post: “After its initial bids for border contracts were passed over, the company and its CEO, Tommy Fisher, cut a direct path to the president by praising him on cable news, donating to his Republican allies and cultivating ties to former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon, GOP Senate candidate Kris Kobach and other conservative figures in Trump’s orbit… The new award to Fisher carries an average cost of more than $30 million per mile of border barrier, more expensive than other contracts for Trump’s wall.”
Meanwhile, Trump and Senate Republicans won’t even discuss providing more coronavirus relief to states.
NBC News: “Trump’s focus on questioning Democrats’ campaign tactics comes as the country is still in the throes of the coronavirus crisis. While the president touched briefly on testing and vaccines, there was no mention of state and local aid that desperate states are waiting for, according to multiple sources. There were brief discussions of future aid bills but it wasn’t the focus of the conversations, senators said.”
Trump opposes extending unemployment benefits for laid-off workers.
Washington Post: “President Trump on Tuesday privately expressed opposition to extending a weekly $600 boost in unemployment insurance for laid-off workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to three officials familiar with his remarks during a closed-door lunch with Republican senators on Capitol Hill.”
Trump plans to end National Guard deployments for coronavirus support one day before they become eligible for federal benefits.
Politico: “More than 40,000 National Guard members currently helping states test residents for the coronavirus and trace the spread of infections will face a ‘hard stop’ on their deployments on June 24 — just one day shy of many members becoming eligible for key federal benefits, according to a senior FEMA official.”
Small businesses still can’t get loans and many expect to close for good.
CNBC: “About a third of closed businesses surveyed said they do not expect to reopen, with many citing an inability to pay bills or rent.”
New York Times: “Just 12 percent of the owners who applied for government-backed loans in the $650 billion program reported receiving what they had asked for, while 26 percent said they had received only a fraction of what they had requested. Nearly half of all owners said they anticipated having to permanently close in the next six months.”