President Donald Trump has been pushing for his wall ever since he ran for office, even stating recently that plans were underway. However, it seems he has now hit a major financial problem while trying to build it. Trump promised to use existing funds to start the immediate construction of the wall on the United States/Mexican border, but there does not seem to be enough money to get the wall done.
Reuters claims that documents show the wall does not have enough money behind it to be completed, as Mexico is not going to pay for the wall as Trump tried to claim. The idea was that he could use some funds available through the Department of Homeland Security, according to the White House. However, the Department of Homeland Security only has $20 million that can be re-directed to the wall that is expected to cost upwards of $30 billion.
The document recovered by Reuters mentioned that the Department of Homeland Security said they would reallocate $5 million from a fence in Naco, Arizona, that came into the budget and $15 million from a project to install cameras to the top of trucks at the border. This is, of course, where the extra money comes from when it comes to the DHS.
This was according to a document prepared by the agency, which was given to the congressional budget staff last week. The document said that the funds would be able to cover a lot of different things, such as contracts for wall prototypes. However, it would not be nearly enough to begin construction on the actual wall itself.
Of course, the Trump administration will have to find some way to convince Congress to fork over the billions needed to push for the project to get underway. This is not something that an executive order can somehow force, meaning Trump would have to find a way to not only convince Democrats in Congress but also those Republicans in Congress who are against the wall.
Donald Trump mentioned that he would request for existing funds and that Mexico would be pressured to pay back U.S. taxpayers at a later date. This means despite Trump believing he could force Mexico to pay for the wall, the American people will handle the cost of the wall despite many not being for the idea. He also mentioned that he might increase import taxes for Mexico, essentially forcing them to pay back the American people.
Of course, with a higher import tax comes a higher product overall. So a Mexican blanket, for example, could cost $5 to 10 right now. However, with this new tax, it could go to $20. While this may not seem like a lot, there are other things Mexico provides that they might charge for. That means those products have to go up in price. Therefore, the American people are still on a back-end paying for the wall regardless.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan claimed he would add funding for the border in the budget for the next fiscal year. Ryan estimated the cost to be between $12 billion to $15 billion for the wall. As mentioned, Congress would need to agree as a majority on funding for the wall. However, many Republican members have already said that they will not vote yes to the funding if there is not some sort of offset for the wall with spending cuts.
Of course, President Trump just requested over $50 billion for defense despite the $600 billion already spent annually. This may actually be a place where Trump can take away from; instead of adding the $50 billion he plans to cut from other departments, he can just take out the area for the wall and still add at least $10 billion more to the department of defense. Either way, he gets things added.
According to Reuters, the recovered document claimed that the Department of Homeland Security had only searched for extra funds within its $376 million budget for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology. This was so that they would not have to ask congressional approval for re-purpose funding. Contractors will not be able to bid to develop prototypes until at least March 6. However, over 265 businesses have already listed themselves as interested on the government website.
All of this being said, President Donald Trump is going to yet again have to fight for his wall to be approved. It is unlikely to ever get underway until Trump can get the entire amount he needs to finish the wall — and then some. If there is not enough, then it would not be worth starting and never fully finishing. Plus, if it was a start-and-stop situation, it would take too long to get done.
It is estimated the wall will take over three and a half years to complete already. This is already cutting it close to the end of Trump’s first term as President. It is unknown if he would seek re-election, so if he does not want to wall to go unfinished, he’ll want it to be completed before he leaves office in the next four years. This would mean that no other administration could come in and discontinue the building of the wall.
[Featured Image by LoScalzo/Pool/CNP/MediaPunch/IPX/AP Images]