GOP eyes special spending bill to pay for border wall

GOP eyes special spending bill to pay for border wall
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.) told colleagues Wednesday that he will likely move a supplemental spending bill this year to pay for President Trump’s massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump signed an executive order Wednesday calling for the construction of “a physical wall” along the southern border to be manned by “adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug trafficking and acts of terrorism.”

The immediate question raised by the action is who will foot the bill, given that Trump promised on the campaign trail that Mexico would pay.

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Trump told ABC News Wednesday that construction will begin in a matter of months and insisted he would press Mexico to reimburse the U.S. Treasury at a later date.

"We'll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico," he said. "I'm just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.”

In the meantime, congressional leaders are preparing to move a supplemental appropriations bill to cover the cost, which analysts estimate could be $15 billion or as much as $25 billion.

“He talked about a supplemental budget coming this spring to push that along,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, told reporters, summarizing Ryan’s presentation to the House GOP conference.

“The president said he’s going to get reimbursed one way or the other. We accept that, but in the meanwhile we do have to pay our bills,” Collins added of Ryan’s discussion of the wall. “People have been asking, ‘How do you pay for it?’ ”

Another GOP lawmaker, however, said a funding bill that must be passed by the end of March to extend government funding for fiscal 2017 — which would be either a continuing resolution or omnibus spending package — could be used to begin construction of the wall.