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President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants Congress to increase funding for his border wall to get the project done more quickly.
The president's planned request has major political implications. He has previously threatened to shut down the government at the end of September if lawmakers do not meet his funding demands for the proposed structure on the U.S.-Mexico border.
"We're going to ask for an increase in wall spending so we can finish it quicker. It stops the drugs, it stops the people that we don't want to have," Trump said as he met with Republican members of Congress about immigration.
"We're spending $1.6 billion now. There's a plan for another $1.6 billion, but I'd like to ask this room if we could increase it," he added.
The president's insistence on more money for the border wall comes as he faces an uproar over his administration's policy of separating migrant children and parents at U.S. borders. Trump signed an executive order designed to end the practice, but the action generated more questions, including how the more than 2,000 children already in U.S. custody would be reunited with parents.
Trump aims to tie the divisive border wall — one of his signature campaign proposals — to any congressional effort to end the family separation practice.
The massive government funding bill that Trump signed into law earlier this year runs out at the end of September. The president would likely want his desired money attached to the funding measure lawmakers pass to keep the government running into October.
In March, Trump threatened to veto the $1.3 trillion spending bill, partly over his concerns about the border security money allotted. It put $1.6 billion mostly toward surveillance technology and fencing similar to structures that already exist on the southern border.
Trump told GOP lawmakers on Tuesday that "nobody at this table loved what we did last time," as many Republicans objected to increases in domestic spending sought by Democrats. But he added that Republicans "this time" will not "have to" pass provisions they dislike.
The Trump administration previously requested about $18 billion for the border wall. It is unclear how much more money the president would want to put toward the structure.
A House Republican bill to overhaul the immigration system would include $25 billion in wall funding. The legislation is expected to fail when the chamber votes on it later this week.