Initial funding for border wall in trouble

The Trump administration's budget request for $1 billion to build the wall along our southern border appears to be a dead issue in the House, as a resolution to continue funding the government past April 27 will almost certainly not include the funds.

With solid opposition by Democrats and some Republicans wavering in their support, Speaker Ryan – who has promised there will be no government shutdown – says funding for the wall will have to wait until later.

The Hill:

But the issue has become a political thorn in the side of GOP leaders who are facing pushback from Republicans voicing concerns over the diplomatic fallout, the disruption to local communities and the enormous cost of the project, estimated to be anywhere from $22 billion to $40 billion.

With Democrats united against new wall funding, it's unlikely the Republicans have the votes to get it through and prevent a government shutdown.

Among the loudest GOP skeptics are those representing border districts. Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), for instance, hail from districts that span a combined 880 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. They're pressing the administration to justify the huge costs.

"We recognize the need for robust border security and infrastructure to ensure public safety and increase cross border commerce," the lawmakers wrote recently to top administration officials. "We also have an obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Grover Norquist, a conservative anti-tax crusader who has supported comprehensive immigration reform, told The Hill that payment for the wall has not been an issue in his discussions with allies on Capitol Hill.

And some Republicans are concerned that deteriorating relations with Mexico may be too high a price to pay for the wall.

In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed concern to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about a growing resentment in Mexico over the administration's border policies.

"There is a lot of anti-American sentiment in Mexico. If the election were tomorrow in Mexico, you'd probably have a left-wing, anti-American president in Mexico. That can't be good for America," McCain said.

"It would not be good for America, or for Mexico," Kelly conceded.

Begging your pardon, Mr. McCain, but aren't we facing a "left-wing, anti-American president in Mexico" right now?  About the only way the Mexican government under President Nieto can get much more anti-American is by declaring war on the U.S.  Some would argue that's exactly what Mexico has done.

Regardless, it is not up to Mexico how the U.S. defines its sovereignty.  The wall may or may not be the most efficient use of our resources to secure the border, but that certainly isn't Mexico's decision.  Nor should we take into account the position of the Mexican government.  They will have to deal with the U.S. – wall or no wall.  Perhaps they would be better off concentrating on that.

President Trump has hinted that other funding mechanisms are on the table, including taxing remittances from Mexican citizens living in the U.S. who send money back home and slapping a border tax on goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico.  It's not likely that either idea would completely fund construction of the wall, but both would certainly solve the initial funding problem.

Democrats have made opposition to funding the wall part of their legislative agenda.  But Republican majorities in both chambers should be able to overcome Democrat resistance – as long as the GOP remains firm.  There may be a few defections, but the vast majority of Republicans are on board, and at an appropriate time, funding for the wall has an excellent chance of being passed.

The Trump administration's budget request for $1 billion to build the wall along our southern border appears to be a dead issue in the House, as a resolution to continue funding the government past April 27 will almost certainly not include the funds.

With solid opposition by Democrats and some Republicans wavering in their support, Speaker Ryan – who has promised there will be no government shutdown – says funding for the wall will have to wait until later.

The Hill:

But the issue has become a political thorn in the side of GOP leaders who are facing pushback from Republicans voicing concerns over the diplomatic fallout, the disruption to local communities and the enormous cost of the project, estimated to be anywhere from $22 billion to $40 billion.

With Democrats united against new wall funding, it's unlikely the Republicans have the votes to get it through and prevent a government shutdown.

Among the loudest GOP skeptics are those representing border districts. Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), for instance, hail from districts that span a combined 880 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. They're pressing the administration to justify the huge costs.

"We recognize the need for robust border security and infrastructure to ensure public safety and increase cross border commerce," the lawmakers wrote recently to top administration officials. "We also have an obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Grover Norquist, a conservative anti-tax crusader who has supported comprehensive immigration reform, told The Hill that payment for the wall has not been an issue in his discussions with allies on Capitol Hill.

And some Republicans are concerned that deteriorating relations with Mexico may be too high a price to pay for the wall.

In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed concern to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly about a growing resentment in Mexico over the administration's border policies.

"There is a lot of anti-American sentiment in Mexico. If the election were tomorrow in Mexico, you'd probably have a left-wing, anti-American president in Mexico. That can't be good for America," McCain said.

"It would not be good for America, or for Mexico," Kelly conceded.

Begging your pardon, Mr. McCain, but aren't we facing a "left-wing, anti-American president in Mexico" right now?  About the only way the Mexican government under President Nieto can get much more anti-American is by declaring war on the U.S.  Some would argue that's exactly what Mexico has done.

Regardless, it is not up to Mexico how the U.S. defines its sovereignty.  The wall may or may not be the most efficient use of our resources to secure the border, but that certainly isn't Mexico's decision.  Nor should we take into account the position of the Mexican government.  They will have to deal with the U.S. – wall or no wall.  Perhaps they would be better off concentrating on that.

President Trump has hinted that other funding mechanisms are on the table, including taxing remittances from Mexican citizens living in the U.S. who send money back home and slapping a border tax on goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico.  It's not likely that either idea would completely fund construction of the wall, but both would certainly solve the initial funding problem.

Democrats have made opposition to funding the wall part of their legislative agenda.  But Republican majorities in both chambers should be able to overcome Democrat resistance – as long as the GOP remains firm.  There may be a few defections, but the vast majority of Republicans are on board, and at an appropriate time, funding for the wall has an excellent chance of being passed.

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