News & Politics

House Republicans Unveil $1.6 Billion Plan for Building Border Wall

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The House Appropriations Committee unveiled legislation Tuesday to fund Homeland Security and begin building President Donald Trump’s wall on the southern border. Mexico will not be footing the bill as promised, however.

Via NBC Washington:

The move by the House Appropriations Committee again puts the Trump administration and its allies on Capitol Hill on a collision course with Democrats who oppose the wall and succeeded in blocking a request by Trump to deliver the money when passing an omnibus spending measure earlier this spring.

Democrats objected to the funding and significant opposition surfaced among Republicans as well, many of whom have problems with the wall. The administration and congressional Republicans took a pass on forcing the issue in May but vowed to fight for the wall this summer and fall.

During last year’s campaign, Trump bragged that Mexico would pay for the wall but he’s never come up with a serious plan to deliver on his boast. Instead, the $1.6 billion down payment for the wall will be added to the government’s almost $20 trillion debt.

The wall money is embedded in a $44 billion homeland security funding bill released on Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee. A House Appropriations subcommittee is slated to give the measure a preliminary OK on Wednesday. GOP leaders hope to pass the measure before adjourning for the August break.

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Democrats are reportedly “eager for the fight,” but so are some Republicans.

Trump and his budget chief Mick Mulvaney are confident Republicans won’t cave to Democrat demands to keep the wall money out of the funding bill like they did earlier this year. 

“I am willing to do whatever it takes in the Senate to ensure President Trump’s promise to the American people is kept,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a Freedom Caucus member who’s running for Senate — in part on a platform to build the wall. “I’ll aggressively oppose every single spending bill that doesn’t fund the border wall and expose every Republican establishment Senator who sides with the Democrats against our President.”

The thirst for a showdown to check off a campaign promise will only be even greater if Republicans fail to pass an Obamacare repeal bill. Trump was furious earlier this year when beltway coverage of a spending deal portrayed him as a loser in the wall standoff with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

That’s given Mulvaney, a former Freedom Caucus member who believes shutdowns could be advantageous to the right, a chance to sweep in and whisper in Trump’s ear that a shutdown might help them get what they want.

“Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” Trump tweeted after the spending deal was struck with Democrats in early May.

Mulvaney in a press conference just after that said the president’s tweet meant “that we might need a shutdown at some point to drive home that this place, that Washington, needs to be fixed.”

Back in January, Trump acknowledged that U.S. taxpayer dollars would be used to start the construction, but said that reimbursement from Mexico would follow.

“I’m just telling you there will be a payment,” Trump said. “It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.”

Different methods to make Mexico pay for the wall have been discussed, including the creation of an import tariff with a provision that funds the wall, and a border crossing fee whenever a person or vehicle enters the U.S. from Mexico.

The president told reporters as recently as last week while seated next to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during the G20 summit, that he still wants Mexico to pay for the border wall.