We can all agree that Trump is acting pretty quickly on his promises. He said that Mexico didn’t know it yet but they were going to pay for the wall. That seems to be more apparent everyday.
The White House suggested a way it could make Mexico pay for the president’s border wall on Thursday: a 20 percent tax on imports.
American consumers buy nearly $61 billion more in goods a year from Mexico than its residents do from the US, creating a massive trade deficit.
‘If you tax that $50 billion at 20 percent of imports, which is by the way a practice that 160 other countries do….We can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone,’ said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
He said, ‘That’s really going to provide the funding.’
The White House spokesman made it sound like the funding mechanism was a firm policy, but later clarified it was just one of several proposals to take Mexico to task.
‘There’s nothing to roll out so the idea of asking for details on something, we’re not there yet,’ he told reporters later as he cleaned up his remarks. ‘It could be a multitude of things. Instead of 20 percent. It could be 18. It could be 5.’
House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters earlier in the day that construction on the wall would have a price tag of up to $15 billion.
Ryan told reporters in Philadelphia, where congressional Republicans are meeting to map out their legislative agenda, that Congress would front-load the money in a special appropriations bill.
He notably wouldn’t say whether the costs would be ‘offset’ -– or whether they would be considered emergency spending that would be added to the nation’s debt.
‘We are going to finance the Secure Fence Act, which is the construction of a physical barrier on the border,’ Ryan said.
‘As far as the offset, we’re going to wait and see from the administration what their supplemental looks like,’ the Wisconsin Republican added.
Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday approving immediate construction of the physical barrier that will divide the United States from its southern border.
He dictated, as he has all along, that Mexico will reimburse the United States in some form.
Spicer said Thursday that the administration has been in ‘close contact with both houses’ of Congress about coming up with a plan.
He strongly suggested to reporters riding back from Philadelphia with the president on Air Force One that they had settled on a 20 percent tax on imports, even though Ryan’s said in the past that House Republicans wouldn’t get behind such a tariff.