Congressional leaders are considering legislation to fund President Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, using taxpayer dollars despite promises that Mexico would finance the project.
In an interview on MSNBC with Greta Van Susteren, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was asked who is going to pay for the border wall.
“First off, we’re going to pay for it and front the money up,” Ryan said. “But I do think that there are various ways -- as you know, I know your follow-up question is, is Mexico going to pay for the wall? There are a lot of different ways of getting Mexico to contribute to doing this. And there are different ways of defining how, exactly they pay for it.”
Ryan added that Republicans support the president’s goal of building the wall and securing the border.
“We agree with that goal and we will be working with him to finance construction of the physical barrier, including the wall, on the southern border,” Ryan said.
It’s unclear if the funds would be a supplemental appropriations bill or part of a government funding package that Congress must take up in April.
Republicans, however, might not be as united on this issue as Ryan claims. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, for example, criticized the proposal in a statement Wednesday. His district straddles 800 miles of the border with Mexico from San Antonio to El Paso and is a former undercover CIA officer.
“The facts have not changed. Building a wall is the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border,” he said. “The 23rd District of Texas, which I represent has over 800 miles of the border, more than any other Member and it is impossible to build a physical wall in much of its terrain. Big Bend National Park and many areas in my district are perfect examples of where a wall is unnecessary and would negatively impact the environment, private property rights and economy.”
Mr. Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders on immigration and one that calls for the construction of a physical wall along the border. He said in an interview with ABC News that the construction would begin within months.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, meanwhile, reiterated that Mexico would not pay for the wall.