Donald Trump says he is not making a U-turn on his election vow to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it.
House Republican officials told Politico that Trump would make U.S. taxpayers fork over the money. The president-elect said Friday in an angry tweet that was only half the story.
‘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!’
Donald Trump is not making a U-turn on his election vow to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it, president-elect said this morning.
House officials told Politico Trump would make US taxpayers fork over the money. The president-elect said Friday in an angry tweet that was only half the story
House Republican policy committee chairman Luke Messer said Trump’s team is considering trying to tack money for the wall onto a bill to pass through Congress in April. Trump says taxpayers will front the money for the wall – but Mexico will be forced to pay it back
‘There’s already in existing law the authorization for hundreds of miles of build out on the southern border,’ House Republican policy committee chairman Luke Messer told Politico.
Continuing the Indiana representative said, ‘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.’
Messer was referring to the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which was passed by George W. Bush.
He confirmed the plan – which would aim for funding to be passed by April 28 – to CNN on Thursday.
‘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,’ he said.
It’s a means to an end to make good on Trump’s campaign plan – expressed in April last year to The Washington Post – to threaten Mexico with tariffs until they agree to pay the cost of the wall – estimates for which are between a few billion and $14 billion.
Trump said he could change a rule under the USA Patriot Act anti-terrorism law that would seize a portion out of all money transfers sent to Mexico.
The provision would siphon funds from remittances, money that is sent by individuals working in the United States, specifically illegal immigrants, to their country of origin.
Close to $25 billion in remittances flowed to Mexico from the U.S. in 2015.
‘This is just one more example of something that is not thought through and is primarily put forward for political consumption,’ President Barack Obama said of the plan when it was proposed.
‘The notion that we’re going to track every Western Union bit of money that’s being sent to Mexico, good luck with that.’
Trump also said he’d withdraw that threat if Mexico made ‘a one-time payment of $5-10 billion’ to pay for the wall.
A 2006 law has already allowed for the building of a few hundred miles of fencing and walls (pictured); Trump seeks to fund that law, which will allow him to kick-start his project
The new plan – in which the money would have to be confirmed through the appropriations committee – would bypass that process in the short term to get the wall up faster.
Republicans argue that there is a major advantage to seeking federal funding: The bill could also be used to strong-arm Democrats into allowing the wall’s passage.
Eight Democratic senators must vote to allow the funding bill to come to the floor before a formal vote can be taken.
Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate. To overcome a filibuster and obtain what’s known as cloture, they need 60 legislators to agree to bring the bill for a vote. After that they need only a simple majority, 51 votes, to pass the legislation.
Because the 2006 law was voted in by then-Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as the current Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer, there could be pressure on to the Democratic Party to approve new funding for the border wall.
Republicans could also attach the wall’s budget to an essential bill that Democrats can’t afford to filibuster or otherwise scuttle.
‘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.
A definite plan had not yet been decided upon by the Trump team as of Thursday evening, sources said.
Barack Obama was among a number of Democrats who voted in favor of the 2006 law. A wall-funding bill would need eight Democrats to sign off on it; Republicans hope the Obama vote will sway some Democrats to fund a wall now
In announcing plans to have U.S. taxpayers put up the money for the wall, Politico said it was an ‘implicit’ acknowledgement by Team Trump that Mexico wouldn’t be paying for the structure, setting off pandemonium on Twitter.
Many posts referencing the project were from gloating Trump opponents who find the supposedly small-government, tax-light GOP’s proposed reliance on taxpayer money ironic.
Barbara Kelley joked: ‘GOP: “We will not fund any of the things. Less gov.” GOP: “Let’s build a big dumb wall and make citizens pay for it. Brilliant!” Me: “Burn it all.”‘
Bet said: Can I not pay taxes for this s**t? Maybe Trump can start paying some – let him pay for his freaking wall.’
But JB Brooks was more savage: ‘Remember, Mexico is gonna pay for that wall! You f**king snake oil salesman.’
Trump supporters responded to news reports on the border wall with skepticism.
Director Webber simply tweeted: ‘Mexico will pay for the wall’ with a thumbs-up emoji.
Jamison, meanwhile, accused a CNN report of being a ‘Speculation article.’ He added: ‘Wait till hes in office. Also, tax costs to illegal immigrants was $4.2b in 2011. Thatd pay off wall in 1yr.’
That remark was parroting a Donald Trump line about how much immigrants who are not authorized to work take in tax credits through ITIN, an alternative to Social Security Numbers. That figure is for all unauthorized immigrants, not just those from Mexico.
However, Politifact noted that those same workers pay an annual net contribution of around $12 billion to the social security net – which they cannot legally use themselves. That’s a net gain to the government of around $8 billion.
Trump and the Republican party were mocked on Twitter after the possible plan was announced, with this user noting that the GOP had talked about spending less taxpayer money
Others still backed Trump, such as this user, who derided the CNN story as a ‘speculation article’. He also quoted misleading figures about ‘tax costs to illegal immigrants’
The 2006 Secure Fence Act was introduced as one part of a wider immigration reform package by Bush and demanded 850 miles of double fencing along the 2,000-mile border.
It was amended in 2008 to change that to a 700 mile minimum and to allow the government to decide on other forms of barrier.
Only 36 miles of double-fencing were built; 350 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fences were built and 300 miles of low-level vehicle barriers were also built that a person could easily walk through.
The Obama administration switched to what it said was a more ‘cost-effective’ ‘virtual fence involving surveillance towers and sensors, but that was frozen by Homeland Security in 2010 after $3 billion had been spent on it.