Incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted on Sunday that Mexico will not directly pay for President Donald Trump’s $5 billion border wall.
‘Technically, you and I both know that it cannot work exactly like that,’ he said on ABC’s ‘This Week.’ ‘Department of Homeland Security can’t actually spend money for Mexico. We have to get it from Treasury.’
Mulvaney serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, making him an authority of federal spending.
His remarks come amid a government shut down brought about by a fight over Trump’s wall. The president wants $5 billion to fully fund his border project while Democrats have offered $1.3 billion.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted on Sunday that Mexico will not directly pay for President Donald Trump’s $5 billion border wall
The government has shut down over a fight over Trump’s wall
President Trump has claimed from the beginning days of his presidential campaign that Mexico would pay for his wall, despite the U.S.’s Southern neighbor saying flat out that it won’t.
Trump and his administration have argued the country will pay for it indirectly through additional taxes brought in via the new trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
‘Mexico has now agreed, for the first time in history, to keep asylum seekers, folks who are trying to get into the USA, on the Mexican side of the border. So these are folks in Mexican facilities maintained by Mexican officials. They’re actually doing more for border security than many Democrats in Congress,’ Mulvaney said.
‘So we really think we’re in a good place in terms of getting the wall built and also getting Mexico to participate in our border security,’ he added.
Last week, Trump claimed the military would build his border wall and Mexico would pay for it – indirectly under the trade agreement.
‘Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the Wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA! Far more money coming to the U.S. Because of the tremendous dangers at the Border, including large scale criminal and drug inflow, the United States Military will build the Wall!,’ he tweeted.
Mulvaney’s admission comes after a partial government shut down began on Friday at midnight.
Trump is demanding the full $5 billion it would take to build his wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion.
Negotiations appear at a stalemate.
With Christmas on the horizon, Congress has adjourned until Thursday, Dec. 27.
And both the White House and Congress are conceding the shut down may last well into the new year.
‘It’s very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,’ Mulvaney said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
President Donald Trump and his administration have argued Mexico would pay for the wall indirectly through the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada
Trump said the new trade deal means Mexico will pay for his wall
There is nothing in the trade agreement that requires Mexico to pay for the wall.
The administration is making a more nuanced argument that taxpayers and businesses will be saving money on goods and services that they will inject back into the U.S. economy.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted last week that savings through the trade deal with Mexico and Canada would provide the revenue that would pay for wall.
‘The President has been clear that the USMCA deal would provide additional revenue through that deal that would show that Mexico was paying for the wall,’ she said.
She added: ‘He’s saying that the revenue provided and the money that would be saved through the USMCA deal, we could pay for the wall four times over. And by doing that new trade deal, we have the opportunity to pay for the wall.’
The agreement isn’t even legal yet. Although the three leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico signed the trade deal, the legislative bodies in each respective country must approve it before its binding. None of them have done so.
And there’s no direct line of revenue from the agreement to the U.S. Treasury. Tax revenue generated by the trade provisions would not come from Mexico but from U.S. tax payers and corporations.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration’s legal team was looking into whether the White House could redirect funds to build the border wall
It’s estimated it would cost $5 billion to build the president’s border wall
Funding for the government ran out Friday at midnight
A fact check by the Anneberg Public Policy Center found Trump’s claim of indirect payment by Mexico to be false.
The center talked to economists to see if the USMCA would provide enough revenue to pay for the wall, using a figure the White House released in January: $25 billion.
‘Even if we accept conceptually the argument that government revenue attributable to the revised trade agreement constitutes ‘Mexico paying for the wall,’ there are no plausible assumptions of USMCA’s impact that would see government revenue increase by $25 billion,’ Geoffrey Gertz, a fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, told the center.
Trump previously has threatened to use the military if Democrats wouldn’t fully fund his border wall. As commander-in-chief he can issue orders to the troops.
But Congressional Democrats have warned that the Pentagon does not have the power to redirect funding to the border wall.
The Constitution requires Congressional approval before money can be allocated and spent, which Democrat argues applies to this move.
President Trump has also directed his Cabinet secretaries to look for funds that could be converted to building his border wall, which Democrats have also protested as illegal.
Sanders said the White House legal team was examining if such a move could be made.
‘That’s their entire job is determining whether or something is legal and we are looking to those individuals to find out those specific pots of money that can be used for that,’ she said at her briefing Tuesday.