President-elect Donald Trump is moving forward with his plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The wall, which was one of his more emphatic campaign promises, was supposed to be paid for by Mexico. Now it seems that Trump will forgo Mexican funding for the walls construction and pass the bill to the American Tax Payers, instead.
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CNN is reporting that Trump’s transition team has decided to fund construction with appropriations as early as April of this year. Passing the cost on to Americans will likely anger a key group in Trump’s constituency.
Opponents of the wall are still hoping to find a way to derail the project entirely, but Trump’s team has found, they say, the mandate in a 2006 law passed during the Bush administration.
“It was not done in the Obama administration, so by funding the authorization that’s already happened a decade ago, we could start the process of meeting Mr. Trump’s campaign pledge to secure the border,” Indiana Republican Rep. Luke Messer told reporters Thursday.
Messer acknowledges that the expense requires “big dollars, but it’s a question of priorities.” Border security, he noted, is a priority. Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul proposed a bill last year that cost nearly $10 billion, Messer pointed out.
“Democrats may well find themselves in the position to shut down all of government to stop the buildout of a wall, or of a barrier, or of a fence,” Messer said.
Mexico has no interest in building the wall, much less paying for its construction. How exactly Trump had planned on making them pay for it was one of the unanswered questions of his campaign. Now it seems that it may be a moot point, as the GOP could simply tack on the expense to a spending bill expected to pass on or before April 28th.
The 2006 bill had significant bi-partisan support. Then Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Hillary Clinton all voted for the measure.
There is an outside chance that Democrats, becasue of this additional expense, could muster the strength needed for a filibuster. Yet shutting down a spending bill has broader implications. The other option would be to find republicans willing to go against the new President’s mandate, but that seems unlikely.
Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana voiced how many feel. “We want President Trump to have all the tools he needs to build the wall,” Scalise said. “We’re in talks with him on the details of it as they’re still putting together their team. We still got a few months before there’s another funding bill that’s going to move. We’re going to work with him to make sure we can get it done. We want to build a wall. He wants to build a wall.”