The much-ballyhooed border wall that President Trump touted during his presidential campaign was again in the news on Tuesday. The President, in speaking with some of his closest advisers, floated the idea of funding the construction of a wall on the Mexican border through the military’s budget according to sources.
Trump discussed the idea in a private meeting last week with House Speaker Paul Ryan, a source familiar with the conversations said, as he reviewed the omnibus spending bill, which does not include funding for construction of a border wall. It was not immediately clear how serious Trump was about pursuing this option, but the move would likely face steep hurdles with appropriators in Congress.
The idea is Trump’s latest attempt to find a way to build the border wall he promised supporters during his campaign as Mexico has dismissed his call for Mexico to fund its construction. Trump has said he would seek that payment in the form of a refund, either through trade negotiations, remittance payments or other means.
A senior administration official confirmed the President has floated this idea, along with others, as alternative ways to pay for the wall.
“There’s a lot of different options we’re trying to contemplate. Certainly that’s one,” the official said.
Another option: increasing fees that a person has to pay when they cross the border from Mexico into the United States.
“You could always increase them and take the revenue for that for resources,” this official said.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to weigh in when asked repeatedly on Tuesday at the daily press briefing about trying to get the military to fund the wall.
“I can’t get into the specifics of that at this point, but I can tell you that the continuation of building the wall is ongoing, and we’re going to continue moving forward in that process,” Sanders said.
Currently, the administration only has the money in the budget for fixing current fencing and building new fencing.
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