President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly looking to Congress and the taxpayers to fund the $14 billion wall along the border of the United States and Mexico.
House Republican officials revealed on Jan. 5 that U.S. taxpayers would be paying for the wall to secure America’s border after all, Politico reported. Trump, however, took to Twitter on Jan. 6 to clear the air.
“The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!” Trump tweeted.
According to Politico, Trump’s transition team has alerted Republican Congress leaders that they wish to start using federal tax dollars for the wall’s construction as early as April.
“There’s already in existing law the authorization for hundreds of miles of build out on the southern border,” Luke Messer, House Republican policy committee chairman, told Politico. “So, one important step in the right direction will be funding the existing law and beginning the building out of hundreds of miles of wall, or fence, on the southern border.”
The existing plan Messer was referring to is the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which was passed under President George W. Bush’s watch.
“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,” Messer explained.
Trump had previously told The Washington Post he planned on making Mexico pay for the wall by imposing sanctions until they agreed to cover the costs. The president-elect added that he could change a rule under the USA Patriot Act anti-terrorism law that would take a percentage of all money transfers to Mexico.
Republicans argue that the new plan of seeking federal funding for the wall is more advantageous because it can be used to strong-arm Democrats into permitting the wall’s passage. The argument is that because the 2006 legislation was voted for by then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the party would be pressured into agreeing to fund the bill.
“If tied to the rest of government funding, it’s much harder for the Democrats to stop, and by the way, I think it’s much harder for Democrats to vote against it if what you’re doing is authorizing funding for an existing law,” Messer said.
Sources: Politico, Donald J. Trump/Twitter, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr