Perhaps The Don’s biggest promise to The People, “Build that wall and Mexico is going to pay for it”,…the “pay for it” part is going to be interesting to follow as it plays out in Congress.
Even more interesting will be Mexico’s reaction!
Eager to help President Trump complete the 1,954-mile wall on the southern border, lawmakers are considering a financing plan that would tax the money that immigrants send home to Mexico and tap State Department foreign aid to the country.
House and Senate Republicans told the Washington Examiner that raiding those two caches of money would offset costs to taxpayers, a key demand of fiscal conservatives, and live up to Trump’s promise to make Mexico pay for the wall.
In focus, according to the lawmakers, is the $23 billion that Mexicans who are legally and illegally in the United States send home every year and the $209 million the government gives Mexico in aid, including money for police, military, food and even Peace Corps programs.
Everything from a 10 percent tax on those cash payments to a one-year grab of it has been proposed.
“A tax on [cash] transmittals could pay that thing off in a reasonable period of time. I would imagine that foreign aid could supplement that payoff,” said Rep. Andy Biggs, a newly elected House member who has been on the immigration front lines for years in Arizona. “Walls do work. You pay for the wall with transmittal payments,” he said.
Foreign aid is also a ripe target, though Biggs said the focus would be on cash the Treasury sends to Mexico because it is easier to get than grants that filter through organizations such as the United Nations.
The State Department said Mexico receives $209 million a year in U.S. aid, or about 37 cents per Mexican.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the committee overseeing the wall, also is considering those targets to fund the wall.
Out of the mix for now is a tax on goods coming into the United States from Mexico. U.S. officials said that it would spark a trade war, which Mexican officials seem to want.
Biggs decried the “bellicosity” from top Mexican officials promising to retaliate if the U.S. raises the trade bar.
“Nobody is saying anything about trade. I think people want to keep trade. It’s important to keep trade. All we’re saying is, ‘Quit promising people in the country illegally that they can vote, have full citizenship rights in America and Mexico.’ Let’s have normalized relations. But we can’t have normalized relations because you don’t recognize the sanctity of our borders like you recognize the sanctity of your own southern border,” Biggs said.