President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly telling GOP leaders in Congress that he’d like to see them fund the border wall using the House appropriations process. His transition team has asked top Republicans to start putting money aside for construction no later than the summer.
As soon as these headlines began trickling out, Trump took to Twitter to defend the news: “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!”
Said media is, of course, focusing on the face that Trump spent most his campaign promising that Mexico would pay for the wall. Therefore, they say, he is breaking that promise by telling the GOP to fund construction using taxpayer dollars.
But Trump has never tried to suggest that the Mexican government would necessarily write an up-front check for the wall. At various times, he has proposed renegotiating the U.S. trade agreement with our southern friends, confiscating remittance payments on their way back to Mexico, and other means of making them fix their own mess. He hasn’t hidden the possibility of using taxpayer money to get the ball rolling on the wall.
Now, that’s not to say everything’s fine and dandy. It remains to be seen, for instance, if Republicans have the stomach for a massive budget increase. It is also possible that Democrats could plant their flag on this issue and ultimately shut down the government to avoid funding the wall. In either scenario, we could see a test of wills; the temperature of the American people could decide the outcome.
As for Republicans, they may be willing to at least make an attempt. Rep. Steve Scalise said Thursday that his party was committed to helping President Trump build the wall.
“We’re in talks with him on the details of it as they’re still putting together their team,” Scalise said. “We still got a few months before there’s another funding bill that’s going to move. We’re going to work with him to make sure we can get it done. We want to build a wall. He wants to build a wall.”
Well then, let’s get it done.