With a spending bill looming before Congress this week that, if it doesn’t pass, could shut down the federal government, the Donald Trump administration seems set on including funds to begin building a border wall on the Mexican border.
The administration has made threats that Trump wouldn’t sign a spending bill that doesn’t include the funding, even though it’s highly unlikely the Democrats would make it possible for the Republicans to include Trump’s desires in a bill that could pass both houses of Congress.
Either way, Trump is still saying that Mexico eventually is going to cough up for the money for the wall that is estimated to cost at least $20 billion.
This is what Trump tweeted Sunday.
The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2017
Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2017
That seems vastly unlikely, considering Mexico’s presidents, past and present, have said there’s no chance Mexico will contribute a dime to the barrier. But in an interview with ABC News’s This Week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the U.S. still has options that include Mexican contributions.
From This Week’s transcript:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any evidence that Mexico is going to pay for it?
SESSIONS: Well, we’re going to get paid for it one way or the other. I know there’s $4 billion a year in excess payments, according to the Department of the Treasury’s own inspector general several years ago that are going to payments to people—tax credits that they shouldn’t get.
Now, these are mostly Mexicans.
And those kind of things add up—$4 billion a year for 10 years is $40 billion. There are a lot of ways we can find money to help pay for this. …
STEPHANOPOULOS: But in your discussions with your counterparts in Mexico, they have given no indication at all that the Mexican government is prepared to pay a single cent for this wall (INAUDIBLE)?
SESSIONS: Well, I don’t expect the Mexican government to appropriate money for it. But there are ways that we can deal with our trade situation to create the revenue for it. No doubt about it.
Current funding to keep the U.S. government open runs out on Friday. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said last week that the administration could entice Democrats to agree to funding for the wall by helping fund Obamacare. But it sounds like the Democrats aren’t looking to bargain.
“The White House gambit to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, in order to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall that the President said would be paid for by Mexico is a complete nonstarter,” Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.