“We The People Will Fund The Wall,” the GoFundMe campaign launched by a Trump-supporting veteran in order to build a new border wall continues to collect funds, and now a bill has been introduced in the new Congress to legitimize the effort.
On Thursday, the same day the new Congress convened in Washington, Rep. Warren Davidson announced that he had introduced a bill to allow the government to formally collect the money raised from Brian Kolfage’s GoFundMe campaign. Davidson, a Republican from Ohio, had also introduced the “Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act” in the previous Congress, when it was called HR 7207. The bill is now called HR 32.
“‘Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act’ is newly introduced as HR32,” Rep. Davidson announced on Twitter on Thursday. “It directs [The United States Treasury] to establish a fund allowing private contributions to fund and maintain border walls. Millions of Americans agree and want to chip in to help secure our borders.”
The bill was introduced as the government shutdown continues, and the Trump Administration maintains its standoff with Democratic Congressional leaders over funding for border security. By most media accounts, the two parties are billions of dollars apart in their negotiations.
The Congressional website does not yet list the legislation, but it’s possible there’s a lag on the site.
"Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act" is newly introduced as HR32. It directs @USTreasury to establish a fund allowing private contributions to fund and maintain border walls. Millions of Americans agree and want to chip in to help secure our borders. cc @BrianKolfage pic.twitter.com/FYzIBBW57V
— Warren Davidson (@WarrenDavidson) January 3, 2019
There’s at least one big setback to Rep. Davidson’s plan to pass the “Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act”: As of Thursday, Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House and the Democrats now have a majority in the chamber in which Davidson sits. That means the Democrats control the House’s calendars as well as the chairmanships of all of the committees, and it appears unlikely that the new Democratic leadership will prioritize moving Davidson’s bill through committee toward enactment.
There’s always a chance that the bill could be included in some type of deal between the parties to end the shutdown, but there’s no indication that such a maneuver has been discussed.
There’s one other development for the “GoFundTheWall” campaign: It appears the pace of donations has slowed. As of Thursday night, the fundraiser had brought in just over $18.8 million. While the campaign was sometimes raising millions per day in its early days, it stood at $18.5 million early on Wednesday. The effort remains significantly short of its ultimate goal of $1 billion, a number which is itself a small fraction of what building the wall will ultimately cost.