President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed the military would build his border wall and Mexico would pay for it – indirectly under the new 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.
His declaration comes after the White House ditched its demand for $5 billion in funding for the border wall amid negotiations to keep the government open.
President Donald Trump vowed he ‘will win on the wall’ after the White House signaled it was ditching its demand for $5 billion in funding for his signature issue
Trump said the new trade deal means Mexico will pay for his wall
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday 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.’
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 warn 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.
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
Trump is vowing to fight for his wall
It’s estimated it would cost $5 billion to build the president’s border wall
Trump also vowed on Wednesday he ‘will win on the wall’ after the White House signaled it was ditching its demand for $5 billion in funding for his signature issue.
‘One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!,’ Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning as the clock ticked toward Friday’s partial government shutdown.
His protestation comes amid reports Congress is looking at a two-month stop gap solution that would fund the government through February 8, which would keep it open through the holidays.
The temporary spending plan is still being worked out, CNN reported, and its unknown how much money it would allocate to the White House for Trump’s signature issue.
Trump’s tweet didn’t offer any specifics on what he was looking for in a win and whether he’d want the money appropriated in any stop-gap measure or would be willing to wait and take up the fight again in the new year.
The president tweeted twice on the matter Wednesday morning.
An earlier tweeted suggested he had more thoughts to come with he wrote: ‘In our Country, so much money has been poured down the drain, for so many years, but the Democrats fight us like cats and dogs when it comes to spending on Boarder Security (including a Wall) and the Military. We won on the Military, it is being completely rebuilt. We will win…’
But he deleted that tweet and, six minutes later, offered a more succinct tweet: ‘In our Country, so much money has been poured down the drain, for so many years, but when it comes to Border Security and the Military, the Democrats fight to the death. We won on the Military, which is being completely rebuilt. One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!’
Lawmakers are scheduled to leave town on Friday and Trump is looking to go Mar-a-Lago next week for the holidays.
Hopes were raised on Tuesday a deal would happen before Friday’s deadline when the White House signaled it would be willing to accept less than the $5 billion that Trump has been demanding for his wall.
‘We will work with Congress if they will make sure we get a bill passed that provides not just the funding for the wall, but there’s a piece of legislation that’s been pushed around that Democrats actually voted 26-5 out of committee that provides roughly $26 billion for border security including $1.6 billion for the wall,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News. ‘That’s something that we would be able to support as long as we can couple that with other funding resources.’
The president on Tuesday sidestepped a question on whether he was still willing to shut down the government to get his $5 billion in funding.
‘We need border security,’ was his response.
As for a government shutdown, Trump said: ‘We’ll see what happens. It’s too early to say.’
Republicans in the Senate pushed for a compromise that would agree to the $1.6 billion Democrats are willing to fund for the wall while giving Trump some funds to play with – thus giving the president a win in his retreat.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a bill containing the $1.6 billion for the wall along with a $1 billion so-called ‘slush fund’ that the president could use on boarder security.
Democrats, however, rejected the offer.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnnell (left) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (right) are working on a temporary measure to fund the government
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said his caucus ‘would not accept a billion dollar slush fund’ for the president.
‘Leader Schumer and I have said that we cannot accept the offer they made of a billion-dollar slush fund for the president to implement his very wrong immigration policies, so that won’t happen,’ noted incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A short-term funding extension, called a ‘continuing resolution,’ would let lawmakers avoid the images of a government shutdown at Christmas while punting the solution to Democrats, who take control of the House of Representatives in January.
It would prevent the third government shut down this year after temporary closures in January and February during funding fights.
Any deal would have to be signed off on by Trump and lawmakers remain unsure exactly what the president would accept.
The White House kicked the can down Pennsylvania Avenue to Congress on Tuesday.
‘You know, at this point, the Senate has thrown out a lot of ideas. We’re disappointed in the fact that they’ve yet to actually vote on something and pass something,’ Sanders said at the White House press briefing. ‘So when they do that, we’ll make a determination on whether or not we’re going to sign that.’
McConnell said he was sure the government would remain open.
‘Yeah I am,’ he said when asked about it on Tuesday.
Trump on Tuesday said ‘we’ll see’ what happens in regards to a shutdown
Funding for the government runs out Friday at midnight
Most areas of the federal government have already been funded through other appropriations bills. Roughly 25 percent of agencies are operating off of a Continuing Resolution that will technically expire early Saturday morning.
Roughly 420,000 federal workers, including most law enforcement, would be deemed essential in the course of a shutdown and required to remain on the job. They would receive back pay in the event of a partial government closure, CNN reports.
All other workers would be considered non-essential and sent home on an unpaid leave of absence. Congress typically gives them back pay for days missed, costing the government time and money for work that wasn’t actually done.
It can take weeks for the money to arrive, especially if the shutdown lasts until Democrats take control of the House the first few days in January, putting a financial squeeze on families over the Christmas holiday.
The Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce and Justice would be affected.