White House: Mexican import tax just one way to pay for wall

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday said imposing a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico is just one option President Trump is considering to pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
 
Spicer sought to clarify his earlier comments about the plan, saying they were not meant to be an official policy rollout. 
 
“Our job right now isn’t to roll something out or be prescriptive,” the spokesman told reporters inside his West Wing office. “It’s to show that there are ways that the wall could be paid for. Full stop. That’s it.”
 
Asked if he was making a formal policy announcement, Spicer flatly said “no.”
 
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“The idea was that there have been questions about how the president could pay for the wall,” he said. “One idea through comprehensive tax reform is that there could be this idea that Speaker Ryan and others have floated that could generate revenue.”
 
Spicer said earlier Thursday that Trump wanted to tax all imports from Mexico at a 20 percent rate, which he said would generate $10 billion to pay for the wall. 
 
“This is something that we’ve been in close contact with both houses in moving forward and creating a plan,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One.
 
He said the provision could be included in a comprehensive tax reform package being crafted by congressional Republicans. 
 
“This is the beginning of this plan to make sure it is done right,” he said. “But, it clearly provides the funding and does so in a way that ensures that the American taxpayer is wholly respected.”
 
His initial comments came after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced he would not come to Washington for a meeting with Trump after the president said he would move forward with his plan to erect the wall — and make Mexico pay for it. 
 
His move was interpreted as a sign Mexico will resist paying for the barrier. 
 
The tax plan could have far-reaching consequences for American consumers and businesses while exacerbating tensions between Mexico and the U.S. 
 
The plan could benefit exporters, such as U.S.-based aerospace companies, but hurt retailers and other American companies that manufacture goods overseas to sell in the U.S. 
 
That could result in higher prices for American consumer goods. 
 
It could also reduce the number of imports coming into the U.S., which would lessen the amount of revenue collected by the tax. 
 
Spicer’s initial comments were met with praise from some close Trump allies in Congress, and puzzlement from others.
 
The proposal, as originally explained by Spicer, appeared to be similar to a controversial provision that would tax U.S. businesses’ imports and credit exports included in a House Republican tax plan. 
 
Trump himself panned that proposal as "too complicated" in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal.
 
 
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), who ran against Trump in the GOP presidential primary, said the tax could hurt companies and consumers on both sides of the border. 
 
“Simply put, any policy proposal which drives up costs of Corona, tequila, or margaritas is a big-time bad idea. Mucho Sad,” he tweeted.