As the new year turned, so will the House-majority turn from one led by Republicans to one controlled by Nancy Pelosi and company.
Democrats now have a seat at the negotiating table and Trump will be forced to meet the legislative chamber halfway should he hope to pass some of his legislative ticket items, like the construction of a border wall.
Democrat lawmakers repeatedly remind Trump that he promised Mexico would be paying for the wall.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump specifically explained that Mexico would indeed pay for the wall through the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal,” Trump tweeted. “Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of National Security. Quick payback!”
Breitbart reports Democrat Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee and others even introduced a bill which would require Mexico to pay for the border wall’s construction.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced a bill without much fanfare in December that would block taxpayer funding for a border wall on the U.S./Mexico border and instead would require Mexico to foot the bill.
H.R.7332, or the Protect American Taxpayers and Secure Border Act, does nothing specific to secure the border. The bill states:
No taxpayer funds may be obligated or expended to build a wall or barrier intended to impede travel between Mexico and the United States.
Any wall or barrier described in subsection (a) that is proposed to be built shall be paid for using funds provided by the Government of Mexico.
“If enacted, the law would prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to construct the border wall,” Lee reportedly said about her proposal, via Breitbart.
And, “Moreover, it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that ensures that any wall that is built is paid for by Mexico; directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to make occur certain procedures that improve training of agents of the United States Custom and Border Patrol; increases the number of immigration judges; and, it directs the Secretary of DHS to take all such measures to ensure that refugees at the southern border are given humanitarian assistance.”
“For too long, some in our country have been singularly obsessed with building a wall along our southern border,” the Texas Democrat continued, as Breitbart reports. “Unfortunately, the ringleader of these implacable individuals now occupies the highest office in our government.”
“All of them, however, refuse to acknowledge that a border wall is highly ineffective and prohibitively expensive,” Jackson Lee said. “So committed are they to their delusion, that the president is willing to shut down the government of the United States in pursuit of this folly.”
“Realistic cost estimates of such a wall easily surpass tens of billions of dollars,” she concluded. “This is an immense waste of taxpayer money that could be used to make the investments needed to make America better.”
During a phone interview with Fox News’ Pete Hegseth, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to securing $5 billion for the wall’s construction before he agrees to reopen the government.
Here’s a partial transcript of that conversation, provided via the Daily Wire:
HEGSETH: You stayed in Washington, D.C. through Christmas, through New Year’s. We’ve seen Nancy Pelosi in Hawaii; Democrats not willing to come back. A lot of your supporters, to be honest Mr. President, are hoping that you will stand firm on that five billion dollar mark, or something big for the wall. Are you willing to continue the shutdown if that money does not come?
TRUMP: Well, we are. We have no choice. We have to have border security, and a wall is part of border security. You know, I hear so much about “the wall is old fashioned.” No, the wall is not old fashioned, the wall is 100% foolproof. You look at a wheel – well, I guess they’d say the wheel is old fashioned, but it’s been around for a long time. The wall is the only way to do it, and technology … are just the bells and whistles on the wall. If you don’t have the wall, you’re gonna have people coming in. And my border patrol people, they do a fantastic job, but, you know, they need the backup of the wall – and they’re the ones that want it more than anybody, Pete.
HEGSETH: So, how far are you willing to go, Mr. President? When do you anticipate talks with Chuck and Nancy, as you say, sir?
TRUMP: Well, I assume when they get back. I’m in Washington. I’m ready, willing, and able. I’m in the White House. I’m ready to go. They can come over right now. They could have come over any time. I spent Christmas in the White House, I spent New Year’s eve now in the White House, and I’m here. I’m ready to go. It’s very important.
A lot of people are looking to get their paycheck, and so I’m ready to go anytime they want. No, we are not giving up. We have to have border security, and the wall is a big part of border security – the biggest part.
Watch and listen: