A top Republican on Capitol Hill suggested Wednesday that the cost of constructing President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE's wall along the U.S.-Mexico border could be offset by security fees.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulPentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability Mike Siegel: Potential McConaughey candidacy a 'sideshow' in Texas governor race Biden signs bill to help victims of 'Havana syndrome' MORE (R-Texas) said at an event hosted by Bloomberg Government that the U.S. "won’t pick up the tab for all of this."
But, McCaul said, "I don’t think Mexico is going to appropriate dollars from their Congress to pay for this."
McCaul said U.S. lawmakers are likely to consider an emergency funding bill to pay for the wall in the coming months, which could cost $10 to $20 billion.
While U.S. taxpayer money would be used to make the “initial down payment" to build the wall, McCaul said the cost could be offset by imposing fees on visa applications from countries south of the border as well as imposing fees on money transfers from the U.S. into those countries, known as remittances.
“I think there are some creative ideas that I’ve been coming up with and others in the Congress where the taxpayer makes the initial down payment, but then eventually the security measures pay for it by things like increasing the — putting a border security fee on visa applications from Mexico and Central American countries that are the biggest offenders of illegal immigration,” McCaul said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Trump is expected to announce executive actions at an event at the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday afternoon that are likely to include steps to start building the wall along the Mexican border.
Building the wall was one of Trump's central campaign promises and is something he has said he wants to accomplish early in his presidency.
Mexican leaders have made clear they won’t pay for the wall, despite Trump’s pledge to his supporters.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are planning to turn to a 2006 law that authorized construction of a more than 700-mile “physical barrier” on the Mexican border. They can pick up where the George W. Bush administration left off, since the law hasn’t expired.
Trump previously suggested cutting off the flow of payments sent by immigrants back home to Mexico entirely as a way of forcing the country to pay for the wall during his campaign last year. That would set off a showdown with Mexico, given that its economy relies on the flow of remittances sent by Mexicans living abroad.
Congress faces a deadline at the end of April to renew funding for the federal government. Republicans could try to push the funding for the border wall at that time, effectively daring Democrats to risk a government shutdown.