Donald Trump will reportedly ask Congress to finance construction of a wall along the southern border as early as April, a move that would break the president-elect’s campaign promise that he would force Mexico to pay for it.
To secure the money to build it, transition officials have told House Republican leaders they would want to add billions of dollars into the spending bill that needs to pass by April 28 to keep the government open, a senior House GOP source told CNN.
The move would set up a fight with Senate Democrats and potentially a government shutdown.
“It was not done in the Obama administration, so by funding the authorisation that’s already happened a decade ago, we could start the process of meeting Mr Trump’s campaign pledge to secure the border,” Indiana Republican Congressman Luke Messer said.
“Democrats may well find themselves in the position to shut down all of government to stop the buildout of a wall, or of a barrier, or of a fence,” Mr. Messer said.
During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump vowed that Mexico would pay for the border wall. After the Republican candidate met President Enrique Peña Nieto in September, he said the pair has not discussed the financial issue – a claim swiftly contradicted by the Mexican leader.
“At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall,” Mr. Peña Nieto said at the time.
Mr. Trump angered the Mexican leader hours later when, delivering an immigration speech at a rally, he declared: “We will build a great wall along the Southern border and Mexico will pay for the wall. One hundred percent. They don’t know it yet but they’re going to pay for it.“
Republicans believe Democrats would not dare shutdown the government over one of Mr. Trump’s most popular campaign promises.
Furthermore, it would be hard for Democrats to block the measure since a long list of Senate Democrats voted for the border measure a decade ago, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Estimates of the wall’s cost range from a few billion dollars to as much as $14 billion, yet that excludes other expenses, such as maintenance, border patrol agents and purchasing private property from Texas landowners.